A protest that involves the burning of Torahs — the holy book of Jews — and Bibles — the holy book of Christians — outside the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm has been approved by the Swedish government, according to a national radio station on Friday.
Sveriges Radio reports that permission has been granted to hold a public burning of the holy books on Saturday.
The Swedish government's decision was "strongly" condemned by the European Jewish Congress (EJC) in a press release on Friday.
“Provocative, racist, antisemitic, and sickening acts such as these have no place in any civilised society,” EJC president Ariel Muzicant said in the statement.
“Stamping on the deepest religious and cultural sensibilities of people is the clearest expression possible to send a message that minorities are unwelcome and unrespected,” Muzicant added.
“These actions, based on contorted and specious free speech arguments, are a disgrace to Sweden, and any democratic government worthy of the name should prevent it.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog also condemned the Swedish authorities’ decision in a tweet, saying: “I unequivocally condemn the permission granted in Sweden to burn holy books. As the President of Israel, I condemned the burning of the Quran, sacred to Muslims world over, and I am now heartbroken that the same fate awaits a Jewish Bible, the eternal book of the Jewish people,”
Previously, a man desecrated a copy of the Qur'an outside a mosque in the Swedish capital at the end of June, setting off tense demonstrations at the Swedish embassy in Baghdad.
According to Swedish police at the time, the choice to allow the protest was made in accordance with the right to free speech.
According to a police permit that CNN was able to obtain last month, the "security risks and consequences connected with a Quran burning are not of such a nature that, according to current law, they can be the basis for a decision to reject an application for a general meeting."
Quran burnings "mean an increased risk of a terrorist attack" and "can also have foreign policy consequences," according to the permit for the June demonstration.
It was clarified, though, that "security problems must have a clear connection to the planned gathering or its immediate surroundings in order to be the basis for a decision to refuse a general assembly."
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