Local media reported on Saturday that Ahmad A., the man who had threatened to burn the Torah and the Bible in front of the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, had decided not to proceed with this plan in a heartwarming show of utmost respect for other religions.
Despite Swedish authorities giving him permission to hold a three-person protest, the man claimed he had no intention of burning any books; instead, he threw a lighter to the ground, according to DW.
"I never thought I would burn any books. I'm a Muslim, we don't burn," broadcaster SVT quoted the man as telling those gathered for the planned desecration.
The 32-year-old said the main goal of the demonstration was to draw attention to the difference between exercising one's right to free speech and offending other ethnic groups.
Isaac Herzog, the president of Israel, was one of many Israeli officials and Jewish organisations to immediately condemn the Swedish government's decision to permit the burning of holy books.
Ahmad, who organised the protest, made it clear that his intention was not to burn the holy books but rather to denounce those who had recently desecrated Qurans in Sweden, a practise that is not against the law there.
“This is a response to the people who burn the Quran. I want to show that freedom of expression has limits that must be taken into account,” explained the Swedish resident of Syrian origin.
“I want to show that we have to respect each other, we live in the same society. If I burn the Torah, another the Bible, another the Quran, there will be war here. What I wanted to show is that it’s not right to do it,” he added.
The planned burning of the Torah was scheduled to occur only a few days after another man burned pages of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, drawing widespread condemnation from Muslims all over the world, Al-Arabiya reported.
Rasmus Paludan, a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist, burned a Quran in January to protest Sweden's NATO membership application and the talks with Turkey to allow Sweden to join the alliance.
During the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which is observed on June 28, an Iraqi refugee in Sweden set fire to some Quranic pages in front of Stockholm's largest mosque.
Following the two incidents, the Muslim world issued a number of condemnations.
Although the Swedish police emphasised that a permit to protest did not constitute a formal authorisation to burn a holy book, there is no law that forbids it.
However, if a demonstration endangers security or gives rise to actions or speech that incite racial hatred, the police have the right to forbid it.
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