Sweden: Muslim, Orthodox Christian graves vandalized, Qur’an burnt in Swedish cities
By Atila Altuntas
STOCKHOLM (AA): At least 20 graves belonging to Muslims and Orthodox Christians were vandalized in a cemetery in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, local media reported Monday. Last month Qur’an were burnt across the country leading to attacks on Muslims.
Many tombstones were also scrawled with red paint by unidentified people at Ostra Cemetery, reported Swedish public broadcaster SVT, citing police spokesperson Nils Norling.
The Swedish SvD newspaper reported that around 20 graves were damaged and Muslims who wanted to pray for their deceased relatives on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr noticed the incident and informed the police.
Swedish police said they did not have any information about the perpetrators of the incident and asked eyewitnesses to contact them.
The attack comes amid increased tensions with Muslims in the country.
Ramus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish politician who leads the far-right Stram Kurs (“Hard Line”) party, said he burned two copies of the Qur’an during Ramadan.
Taking to social media, Rasmus Paludan announced that he burned the Muslim holy book in front of Raslatt Mosque in Sweden’s southern city of Jonkoping despite Swedish police not allowing it.
His announcement sparked a wave of Islamophobic attacks and clashes with far-right protesters in the Nordic country.
Meanwhile, a group of people in Malmo protested Paludan’s provocation of burning the Holy Qur’an in various Swedish cities during the Easter holiday.
Addressing protesters, Turkish-born politician Mikail Yuksel, who founded the Party of Different Colors (Nyans) in Sweden, called for stopping Paludan’s provocations.
Paludan was previously banned from Sweden after he burnt a Qur’an in 2020 but was given permission for a series of demonstrations over the Easter weekend.
Sweden’s Justice Minister Morgan Johansson defended Paludan’s demonstrations as an act of freedom of expression and condemned the “serious violence” that ensued.
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Egypt all condemned the incident.
[Photo: People gather in front of the Swedish Embassy building in Tehran, the capital of Iran, to protest the burning of a copy of the Muslim holy book of Qur’an by far-right extremists in Sweden, on April 18, 2022. Photographer: Fatemeh Bahrami/ AA]
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