Sweden Quran burner says planning another burning: report
The man who burned pages of the Quran outside a Stockholm mosque, sparking protests and a wave of condemnations, told Swedish media on Thursday that he intended to burn another Quran within 10 days.
After being granted a permit to protest by Swedish police, Salwan Momika, 37, stomped on the Islamic holy book and set several pages alight in front of the capital's largest mosque on Wednesday.
The Quran burning, coinciding with the start of the Muslim Eid Al-Adha holiday and the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, sparked anger across and beyond the Middle East.
Speaking to newspaper Expressen, Momika said he knew his action would provoke reactions and that he had received "thousands of death threats".
Nonetheless, he was planning further actions in the coming weeks, he said.
"Within 10 days I will burn the Iraqi flag and the Quran in front of Iraq's embassy in Stockholm," he said.
Swedish police had granted him a permit in line with free-speech protections, but later said they had opened an investigation over "agitation against an ethnic group", noting that he had performed the burning so close to the mosque.
Momika, however, denied that his actions constituted a "hate crime" or "agitation towards any group".
"The police have the right to investigate whether the burning is a hate crime. They could be right and they can be wrong," Momika told the newspaper, adding that it would be up to a court to decide in the end.
The police authorisation for the protest came two weeks after a Swedish appeals court rejected the police's decision to deny permits for two demonstrations in Stockholm which were to include Quran burnings.
Police had at the time cited security concerns, following a burning of the Muslim holy book outside Turkey's embassy in January which led to weeks of protests, calls for a boycott of Swedish goods and further stalled Sweden's NATO membership bid – which is being blocked by Ankara.
The appeals court however in mid-June ruled that police were wrong to ban those, saying the security concerns cited by police were not sufficient to ban the events.