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Swedish PM says extremely worried about more Holy Quran burnings

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STOCKHOLM: Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is “extremely worried” about the consequences should further demonstrations go ahead during which copies of the Holy Quran are desecrated, he said on Thursday.

“There are a number of further requests for permission for desecration that have been made,” he told Swedish news agency TT.

“If they are granted, we are going to face some days where there is a clear risk of something serious happening. I am extremely worried about what it could lead to.”

Separately, Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said the Swedish state does not sanction or condone Holy Quran burnings but they are permitted by Swedish freedom of speech laws.

“In some countries, there is a perception that the Swedish state is behind or condone this. We don’t,” Billstrom told reporters.

“These are acts committed by individuals, but they do it within the framework of freedom of speech laws,” he said.

On Wednesday, Sweden accused Russia and other state-sponsored actors of spreading disinformation designed to harm Sweden’s reputation and damage the Nordic country’s bid to join Nato.

Billstrom said he had been in touch with the foreign ministers of Iran, Iraq, Algeria and Lebanon among others as well as the United Nations secretary-general.

“And just now I will speak to the secretary-general for the Organisation of Islamic Countries,” Billstrom said.

“We will discuss these issues and it’s important to stress that this is a long-term issue, there are no quick fixes,” he said.

Sweden has seen several protests in recent weeks where copies of the Holy Quran have been damaged or burned, causing outrage among Muslims.

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