Norway Ban On Koran Burning Demonstration After Turkish Complaints

The Norwegian Police prohibited today for security reasons a demonstration called for tomorrow in which the burning of copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam, was planned, hours after the Government of Turkey formally expressed its discomfort in this regard.

A police spokesman, Martin Strand, explained that the authorities cannot guarantee the security of the protest, so he confirmed the ban on holding it for the organizing organization, Sian, which advocates fighting the “Islamization” of Norway, according to the NRK chain.

Declaration of Turkish Foreign Minister

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu declared that the demonstration was canceled after his portfolio summoned the Nordic country’s ambassador to Ankara.

“We summoned the Norwegian ambassador after learning of the planned concentration to desecrate the holy Qur’an. After that, they canceled the permission for the action,” the minister said at an event in Ankara, broadcast on Twitter.

“It is clearly a hate crime,” Turkish government sources alleged, quoted by the Europa Press news agency.

For its part, the Norwegian government explained to NRK that the ambassador conveyed to his Turkish interlocutors that tomorrow’s rally does not have any institutional support, but at the same time he defended that freedom of expression is enshrined in the Constitution.

Ankara’s General Prosecutor’s Office earlier opened an investigation into incidents of Quran desecration by far-right activists in Sweden and Denmark.

On January 21, the Danish far-right Rasmus Paludan, leader of the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant party Hard Line, burned a Koran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

Turkish authorities called the act a “hate crime” and “further proof of the alarming level of Islamophobia, racism and discrimination in Europe.” The Russian diplomatic mission also condemned that act.

Two days later, the leader of the German xenophobic movement Pegida (European Patriots against the Islamization of the West), Edwin Wagensveld, burned several pages of the holy book in The Hague.

Then, on January 27, Paludan was reported to have burned a copy of the Koran in front of a mosque in Copenhagen, while Danish police officers blocked traffic on the street and enforced security measures around the venue.

Several media reported then that Paludan intended to carry out a similar action near the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen, which is located about 100 meters from the consular section of the Russian diplomatic mission.

This week, the Finnish Police confirmed that they prevented a copy of the Koran from being burned in a protest against the Nordic country’s accession to NATO, a gesture that did occur in neighboring Sweden and provoked the anger of Turkey, on whom they depend both nations to join the Atlantic Alliance.

The burning of copies of the Koran in Sweden led to a deadlock in the already complicated negotiations between Stockholm and Ankara for the latter to give the green light to Swedish membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

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