Quran burnings worsen security situation, country's image, say Swedish officials

Quran burnings worsen security situation, country's image, say Swedish officials

Burning of sacred texts in Sweden should be taken seriously, says Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom

By Atila Altuntas

STOCKHOLM (AA) - Recent Quran burnings have worsened security and damaged Sweden's image, said the Swedish justice minister on Thursday.

It is a grave situation that Sweden is being portrayed as an Islamophobic country, while the Quran burnings not only made the country less safe but also hurt its image, Gunnar Strommer told a joint news conference with Charlotte von Essen, head of the Swedish Security Service.

Von Essen said the terrorist threat in the country has risen since March and will remain high.

Separately, Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said after a parliamentary committee meeting on the country's worsening global image due to the Quran desecration that the burning of sacred texts in Sweden should be taken seriously.

Although burning Quran copies is legal in Sweden, it is not appropriate, he added.

Billstrom said he has been in contact with the foreign ministers of many countries since the beginning of the acts and that they will discuss the issue with the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Ahead of meeting met with representatives from Swedish companies from the Islamic world, Trade Minister Johan Forssell said Swedish firms doing business abroad suffered following the Quran burnings.

Recent months have seen repeated acts of Quran burning or desecration, or attempts to do so, by Islamophobic figures or groups, especially in northern European and Nordic countries, drawing outrage from both Muslim countries and worldwide.

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