Police in Finland vowed to prevent any public burning of the Quran amid furor over Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan’s acts in Sweden and Denmark, a decision hailed by Türkiye
Finnish media outlets reported that the police in the Nordic country would not allow any public burning of the Quran, pointing out that the laws in the country mean that such an act would violate religious peace.
The statement by police quoted by Finnish news agency STT came weeks after a far-right Danish politician burned the Muslim holy book in Stockholm and Copenhagen, outside the Turkish Embassy and a mosque, respectively. Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın lauded the statement. “We welcome this levelheaded decision, and hope it will set an example for other countries,” Kalın tweeted.
Finland has been firm in keeping existing laws on the sanctity of religion, which includes the possibility of prison terms for blasphemy, despite opposition from abroad, under the pretext that the country was blocking freedom of expression.
The Quran burning by Rasmus Paludan came after Türkiye requested Sweden to fulfill its demands, including extradition of terrorist suspects and prevention of propaganda of terrorist groups, in order for Ankara to approve its bid for NATO membership. Finland accompanies Sweden in the NATO alliance bid process that came in light of the Russia-Ukraine conflict as the two countries sought to boost their defenses. Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled that Türkiye may prioritize Finland over Sweden in approval of its bid, while the Finnish president announced that they were in contact with Ankara following Erdoğan’s remarks. Sauli Niinistö, however, said they preferred to join NATO with Sweden together.
The leader of the right-wing Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, Rasmus Paludan, under police protection, was permitted to set fire to a copy of Islam’s holy book in front of the Turkish Embassy in the Swedish capital while delivering a hate-filled anti-Islam speech last Saturday.
Paludan’s act aroused a harsh backlash worldwide, with Türkiye, the target of the hate crime, pulling the lead in denouncing the incident and Swedish authorities for enabling him.
Condemnations kept coming in from Muslims, Christians and Jews in Türkiye and across the globe in a religious show of solidarity over the incident.