Danish far-right set to stoke tensions in Sweden with new anti-Islam protests
Danish right-wing party Stram Kurs is set to stir up tensions by holding fresh anti-Islam protests in neighbouring Sweden this weekend.
The party has announced plans for new demonstrations in five suburbs of the Swedish capital Stockholm on September 12.
It comes after a group linked to Stram Kurs burned copies of the Islamic holy book the Quran in Malmo in late August, according to AFP. Several police officers were injured in clashes with the protesters in a suburb of the city, which is near the Danish border.
"We want the Swedish people to wake up," Rasmus Paludan, leader of Stram Kurs, told Dailyrater.
“One way of awakening the Swedes is to show, how certain people react when you burn the Quran. It seems like the Swedish government is telling its population that Islam is the religion of peace. Well, in that case, it is only fair that we give Swedish Muslims a chance to prove that.”
Paludan, known for his anti-Muslim rhetoric, travelled to Sweden on the weekend of the Malmo demonstration but was stopped at the border.
The authorities said he was prevented from entering the country because he was a threat to the "fundamental interests of society".
The far-right group has submitted an application for a demonstration permit in Sweden next Saturday but protesters are likely to try and get to Stockholm regardless of whether they receive official permission.
On Tuesday, Sweden’s Muslim community held a meeting to discuss how to deal with the demonstrations this weekend.
“The conclusion was to encourage friendly and calm actions," Imam Mahmoud Khalfi told Dailyrater. "One should not react strongly, but instead just ignore it.”
Khalfi said they were in dialogue with Swedish police about security restrictions for mosques in Stockholm on Saturday.
Addressing Paludan's comments, he added: “The constitution guarantees you the freedom to demonstrate. But at the same time, you are not allowed to offend others or degrade religious symbols. We must stop those who want to create chaos and disturb the normal order because it harms freedom."
Sweden's Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, commenting on Stram Kurs' application to Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan, said: “Whoever is allowed to enter or not, is an official decision. But let me put it like this. [..] I find it very hard to understand those, who constantly have to provoke, insult, and humiliate other people. I find it very hard to see the benefit of it.”