Swedish premier says he 'respects' Denmark's plan to criminalize desecration of Quran

The Swedish prime minister on Friday voiced respect for Denmark's step toward criminalizing the public desecration of religious scriptures.

"I have great respect for what Denmark is doing," Ulf Kristersson said in a news conference, according to local media.

He added that Sweden and Denmark have different legislations and that the countries that are exposed to terror threats must take measures.

He said his country would have to amend the Constitution should it choose to follow Denmark's move.

Early Friday, the Danish government announced that it had presented a bill criminalizing the burning of religious scriptures publicly.

Meanwhile, Sweden, recalling its Public Order Act, reiterated that it could broaden the process of examining permit applications on public desecration of the Quran.

In response to Anadolu's question whether Sweden could take a similar step in this regard, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said that Sweden has "a permit system," which Denmark does not have.

"This means that we have the possibility to broaden the process of examining permit applications so that Sweden's security can be considered," said the ministry.

"Denmark is starting out from a different position," it added.

The ministry recalled that the Swedish government has appointed an inquiry to review its Public Order Act to ensure that the country's security can be considered when examining permit applications for public gatherings.

It also stated that the desecration of the Quran, or any other scripture or book that is regarded as holy by many, is "an offensive, disrespectful act, and a clear provocation."

"The Swedish Government strongly rejects these acts, which do not reflect the Government's opinions and nor that of the majority of the Swedish people," it added.

Provocative acts in Sweden, Denmark

Sweden and Denmark have met a wide range of criticism over allowing public desecration of the Quran that is being held under police protection.

Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, continued to burn copies of the Quran in Swedish cities of Malmo, Norrkoping, and Jonkoping as well as in the capital Stockholm during the Easter holiday last year.

On Jan. 21, he burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Sweden and on Jan. 27, outside of the Turkish Embassy in Denmark.

Iraqi-born refugee Salwan Momika burned a copy of the Muslim holy book outside a mosque in the Swedish capital of Stockholm on Jan. 28, during Eid al-Adha, one of the major Islamic religious festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

On July 20, outside the Iraqi Embassy in Sweden, he threw a copy of the Quran and the Iraqi flag on the ground and stepped on them. He later burned a Quran outside of the Swedish parliament on July 31.

Iranian immigrant Bahrami Marjan held the same provocative acts in Angbybadet, Stockholm, on Aug. 3.

Momika also staged another Quran burning outside the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm early in August.

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