Public burning or other desecration of book held sacred by religious community would be met with police intervention.
Police in Finland has said the public burning copies of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, would not be allowed in the country, local media reported.
The National Police Board said burning a copy of the Quran would likely violate religious peace, which is a punishable offence in Finland, said media reports, citing the Finnish News Agency STT.
The public burning or other desecration of a book held sacred by a religious community would be met with police intervention, added the police.
In response to a question from Anadolu Agency on whether they would adopt a similar approach, the Swedish Foreign Ministry reiterated its position on burning a copy of the Quran in the name of freedom of expression.
“The government understands those who are offended by actions such as the burning of holy scriptures,” the ministry noted, adding “not everything that is legal is necessarily appropriate.”
Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, burned a copy of the Quran in front of a mosque in Denmark on Friday.
The anti-Muslim act came days after the far-right leader burned a Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Sweden during a police-approved incident.
Paludan also announced that he would burn a copy of the Islamic holy book every Friday until Sweden is included in the NATO alliance.
Türkiye may evaluate Finland’s application ‘separately’
Meanwhile Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday Türkiye may show a different approach to Finland’s NATO bid than Sweden.
“If NATO and these countries (Finland and Sweden) take such a decision, we, as Türkiye, think that we may evaluate the applications separately, but first of all, NATO and these countries have to decide,” Cavusoglu told a joint press conference with his Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho in the capital Ankara.
“I think it would be fair to distinguish between a problematic country and a less problematic country,” he added.
Cavusoglu said his Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto and he made an assessment during a phone talk after Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Sunday remarks on Ankara’s attitude towards Finland’s NATO bid.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last May, a decision spurred by Russia’s military action against Ukraine, which started on February 24, 2022.
But Türkiye – a NATO member for more than 70 years – voiced objections, accusing the two countries of tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups. Under a memorandum signed last June between Türkiye, Sweden, and Finland, the two Nordic countries, pledged to take steps against terrorists in order to gain membership in the NATO alliance.
Unanimous agreement from all NATO members, including Türkiye, is needed for any new members to be admitted to the alliance.
Türkiye says the countries, particularly Sweden, need to do more, especially in the wake of provocative terrorist demonstrations and burning of copies of the holy Quran in Stockholm.
In the deal, Sweden and Finland agreed not to provide support to terrorist groups such as the PKK and its offshoots, and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Türkiye, and extradite terror suspects to Türkiye, among other things.
Cavusoglu said both the Nordic countries, NATO and some allied countries want the membership process of the two countries to progress together, and which is why the tripartite agreement was signed.
Talking of Finland, he said positive statements have been made along with practical developments regarding restrictions on exports of defense industry products to Türkiye, but there were no provocations.
“There are radical groups there, too, with different ideologies, apart from the supporters of PKK terrorist organisation who want to prevent Finland’s membership,” he said.
Reiterating Ankara’s commitment to NATO’s enlargement, he said: “We have no problems with Finland and Sweden, and understand their security concern, it is legitimate.”
He said two main threats are mentioned in NATO documents.
“One of them is Russia, and we understand that they are worried about it. The other is terrorism and therefore, Türkiye’s concerns should not only be understood but also met. That’s why we signed the tripartite memorandum,” the top Turkish diplomat reiterated.
Pointing out that some steps have been taken in Sweden to address Ankara’s concerns, Cavusoglu said: “But in concrete terms, unfortunately, there are backsteps due to the provocations of groups that want to prevent Sweden’s NATO membership.
“Sweden is still allowing terrorist groups including the PKK and FETO to recruit people and use legal bank accounts for illegal funding, he said.