The Swedish police say several days of unrest triggered by a far-right group’s plan to burn the Holy Qur’an in the fasting month of Ramadan have left several dozen people injured, calling for more resources to deal with the violence.
Anders Thornberg, national police chief, said at a press conference on Monday that protests have turned violent in several cities since April 14, leaving 26 police officers and 14 civilians injured.
Thornberg said eight people were arrested in the eastern city of Norrkoping and 18 were detained in the southern city of Linkoping.
“There are too few of us. We have grown, but we have not grown at the same pace as the problems at the heart of society,” the national police chief said, asking for more resources for the police.
The violence initially broke out on that April day, after the Danish leader of the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party tried to burn a copy of the Qur’an in a heavily-populated Muslim area in Sweden during Ramadan.
Rasmus Paludan, accompanied by police, went to an open public space in Linkoping and reportedly placed the Muslim holy book down and tried to set it on fire while ignoring protests from onlookers.
The blasphemous act prompted protesters, numbering about 200 by local media’s estimate, to clash with the members of the far-right party and Swedish police after their pleas to stop Paludan’s sacrilegious move were conveniently disregarded.
Paludan has regularly been at the center of such incidents in recent years. In 2019, he wrapped the holy book in bacon and tossed it in the air.
In September 2020, the racist leader was banned from entering Sweden for two years. Later in October, he was prevented from coming to Germany after he announced plans to hold a provocative rally in Berlin.
Paludan, who intends to stand in the September poll but does not yet have the necessary signatures to secure his candidacy, has gone on a declared ‘tour’ of Sweden, visiting cities and towns with large Muslim populations with the intent of burning copies of the Muslim holy book during Ramadan.
Anti-Muslim sentiments have been on the rise across Europe in recent years in the wake of terrorist attacks in the continent carried out mostly by Daesh sympathizers or the Takfiri terrorist group’s members who returned home following the group’s defeat in Iraq and Syria.
Muslim leaders in Europe and around the world have repeatedly condemned the terrorist attacks.
Moreover, the rise of far-right ideology and the propagation of anti-immigration policies have also exacerbated the status of religious minorities in Europe.