Over 34,000 people have signed a Swedish petition demanding the government make burning the Qu’ran a crime after cities across the country saw multi-day riots over anti-Islam activists burning the Islamic holy book.
The petition was started by Swedish journalist Atilla Yoldas, a reporter and columnist for the Swedish newspaper Expressen, and has managed to garner nearly 36,000 signatures in around four days as of Wednesday.
“How can vandalism against mosques and harassment of Muslim congregations be counted and investigated as hate crimes but the deliberate destruction of the Koran does not?” Yoldas argued, decrying the cost to the taxpayer of policing due to the activities of Danish anti-Islam politician Rasmus Paludan and his supporters.
Since Thursday of last week, Swedish cities have been rocked by riots, leading to at least 26 police officers being injured, 20 police vehicles damaged or destroyed, and over a dozen members of the public injured. The riots have also seen a school set on fire in Malmo and several people shot after a police warning shot ricocheted while officers were being attacked in Norrköping.
Rasmus Paludan leads the Danish political party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), and stages frequent demonstrations where he burns a copy of the Qu’ran and shows depictions of Mohamed. Paludan argues the violent responses to his presence prove his belief that Muslims themselves are predisposed to violence: he says Muslims should be deported.
Certainly, the Islamic faith tends to view abuse of their holy book and the creation of images of their prophet as highly offensive. Paludan has been jailed in the past on racism charges.
Journalist Yoldas is not alone in petitioning to stop Paludan and his supporters. Several Swedish municipal politicians have called on the police to prevent Paludan from holding more demonstrations.