Politician who burned Koran in Sweden – likely costing them their chance to join NATO – repeats his stunt in Denmark, sparking yet more fury from Turkey and the Muslim world
- Rasmus Paludan burned a Koran in front of Turkish embassy and by a mosque
- Thousands of Muslims have taken to the street in protest around the world
- Russia-linked journalist paid for the stunt, it was revealed this week
A far-right activist has burned a Koran outside a mosque in Copenhagen and in front of a Turkish embassy, further infuriating the Muslim world after a similar stunt last week in Sweden.
Rasmus Paludan, who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship, first staged the incendiary protest on Saturday outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm after being granted permission by authorities.
The convicted extremist repeated the protest today in Denmark and has vowed to do so every day until Sweden is admitted to NATO.
The provocative demonstration has endangered Sweden’s bid to join the security organisation after Turkey postponed planned accession talks.
Far-right politician Rasmus Paludan burns a copy of Kuran in front of the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen today
Far-right journalist Chang Frick, who runs the populist site Nyheter Idag and previously worked for Russia Today (RT), is alleged to have paid the fee for the demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm last week.
His involvement has led to unproven claims that Russia could be behind the row to prevent Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
During Paludan’s protest outside the mosque today, loud music blared from inside the holy building in an apparent attempt to drown him out.
The politician, who has police protection and was then driven away by officers, said in a live broadcast today: ‘This mosque has no place in Denmark.’
The activist, who has police protection, was then driven away in a police car.
In his live feed, he said he would repeat the demonstration outside the Turkish and Russian embassies.
The activist is pictured burning another Koran outside a mosque in Noerrebro, Copenhagen, today
The convicted extremist repeated the protest today in Denmark and has vowed to do so every day until Sweden is admitted to NATO
People react as far-right politician Paludan burns a Koran copy in front of a mosque in Copenhagen
Police secure the area in front of the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen ahead of today’s protest
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said the Danish ambassador was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry where Turkish officials ‘strongly condemned the permission given to this provocative act which clearly constitutes a hate crime’.
The ambassador was told that ‘Denmark’s attitude is unacceptable’ and that Turkey expected that the permission be revoked, according to Anadolu.
Danish foreign minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told Danish media that the incident would not change Denmark’s ‘good relationship’ with Turkey, adding that Copenhagen intended to talk to Ankara about Denmark’s laws upholding freedoms.
‘Our task now is to talk to Turkey about how the conditions are in Denmark with our open democracy, and that there is a difference between Denmark as a country – and our people as such – and then about individual people who have strongly divergent views,’ Mr Lokke Rasmussen said.
Paludan’s action last week caused fury in Turkey, which criticised Swedish authorities for allowing the demonstration to take place outside the Turkish embassy.
Iranians burn Sweden’s flag during an anti-Sweden rally after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran today
In Pakistan, thousands took to the street today to protest Sweden’s decision to allow the demonstration
Taliban security forces stand guard as Afghans shout slogans during a protest against the burning of the Koran today
Turkey’s president cast serious doubt on NATO’s expansion, warning Sweden not to expect support for its membership bid in the military alliance.
Turkey also indefinitely postponed a key meeting in Brussels that would have discussed Sweden and Finland’s NATO’s membership, saying such a meeting would have been ‘meaningless’.
Sweden and Finland abandoned their long-standing policies of military non-alignment and applied for NATO membership after Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
NATO member Turkey, which is pressing the two countries to crack down on Kurdish militants and other groups it considers terrorists, has not yet endorsed their accession, which requires unanimous approval from all existing alliance members.
A lawyer, Paludan established far-right parties in both Sweden and Denmark that have failed to win any seats in national, regional or municipal elections.
In last year’s parliamentary election in Sweden, his party received just 156 votes nationwide.
Protesters hold up a bloodstained effigy of Paludan during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan, today
His burning of the Quran sparked counter-protests in Turkey, where demonstrators burned his photograph and a Swedish flag
Rasmus Paludan is pictured burning the Koran outside of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm last week
‘This is (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan’s fault. Now that he doesn’t want to let Sweden into Nato, I have to teach him about freedom of speech until he does,’ Paludan told Aftonbladet.
Earlier this week, Paludan told Swedish media that Frick paid for the stunt and claimed the journalist – whose Twitter feed includes photos of him posing in a Putin T-shirt and showing off a Putin calendar – promised to cover any damages he incurred as a result of the demonstration.
In 2019, Frick accused the New York Times of misrepresentation on Twitter after the newspaper profiled him in a story on how Moscow was trying to sow political discord in Sweden, the Telegraph reported.
Frick said RT was his client but not his employer and told the paper he had been invited to meet Putin. He denied working for Russia. MailOnline has approached Frick for comment.
Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist who has already been convicted for racist abuse, provoked rioting in Sweden last year when he went on a tour of the country and publicly burned copies of the Koran.
Morocco said it was ‘astonished’ the authorities had allowed it to take place ‘in front of the Swedish forces of order’.
Chang Frick, who runs the populist site Nyheter Idag and previously worked for Russia Today (RT), is alleged to have paid the fee for the demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm
Frick posing in a Putin t-shirt
Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Jakarta said ‘the act of blasphemy against the holy book has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance’, adding that ‘freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner’.
Thousands of Afghans also took to the streets today in protest against his provocations.
‘Today, Kabul residents in different parts of the city held protests,’ Kabul’s police spokesperson Khalid Zadran said on Friday afternoon.
In the northern province of Badakshan, a spokesperson for the provincial government said thousands had gathered after Friday prayers to protest.
‘They were saying ‘Death to Sweden, U.S.A and U.N’.,’ said Mahzudden Ahmadi. ‘They said such actions shouldn’t be repeated, also they asked Islamic Emirate to have a strong position against such actions,’ he added, referring to the Taliban administration.
Earlier in the week, the Taliban-run Afghan foreign ministry had called on the Swedish government to punish the individual and to prevent any similar incidents taking place.
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