Several arrested in Sweden over new Quran burning

Several arrested in Sweden over new Quran burning

Swedish police arrested more than ten people on Sunday after scenes of violence in Malmö which followed a rally during which a copy of the Quran was burned.

Sunday's rally, organised by Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika, who initiated similar events that angered the Muslim world, took place in a square in Malmö, a city home to a large immigrant population.

“Spectators showed their emotion after the organiser burned the writings,” the police said in a statement adding that “The atmosphere was stormy” as “violent riots” broke out in the early afternoon.

According to police, the gathering ended after the organiser left, but a group of people remained behind.

Around ten people were arrested for disturbing public order and two others arrested on suspicion of having participated in violent riots.

According to media reports, spectators threw stones at Salwan Momika.

At the end of July the 37-year old and another man, Salwan Naja, trampled on a copy of the Quran in Stockholm before setting it on fire, as they had done during previous rallies, causing diplomatic tensions between Sweden and countries in the Middle East.

The Swedish government has previously condemned the desecrations of the Quran while emphasising that Sweden's Constitution protects the right to assembly and freedom of expression.

Iraqi protesters attacked the Swedish embassy in Baghdad twice in July, starting a fire inside the diplomatic mission in the second assault.

In mid-August, the Swedish Security Service announced that it had raised the terrorist alert level to 4 on a scale of 5, the strong reactions aroused abroad by the desecration of the Quran on Swedish soil making the country a “priority target”.

At the beginning of August, Sweden also decided to strengthen border controls.

Neighbouring Denmark, where public desecration of the Quran has also taken place, announced that it was considering banning the burning of the Muslim holy book.

Sweden is considering legal ways to follow suit, too.