Protests have erupted in Sweden, as far rights activists from the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party burned the Quran, moments after their leader was banned from entering the country.
An image from the riots in Sweden (Source: The Guardian)
Protests have been a normality rather than a surprise in 2020. Be it the protests and looting which occurred days after the death of George Floyd, or be it in Israel, where protestors are protesting against the incumbent PM, Benjamin Netanyahu. Amidst the lockdown, a sense of angst has developed in many communities, representative of that protest in Malmo, Sweden have also ensued.
The dissent to the country’s liberal ideas, began on Friday by members of the far-right Danish party Stram Kurs (Hard Line). It was later reported, the party’s leader Rasmus Paludan was denied permission to conduct a conference in Malmo about “Islamization in the Nordic countries”, where it was believed that the Quran would be burned, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported. The far right activist was invited by Swedish artist Dan Park, who is a provocateur and has a history of arrests, for inciting ethnic issues.
Paludan is a Danish politician and lawyer who founded the far-right party Stam Kurs in 2017 and was noticed for making anti-Muslim videos on YouTube, the contents of which included burning the Quran, at times wrapped in bacon, which he justified as a tribute to free speech.
In June, Paludan was convicted on charges of racism for posting anti-Islam videos on his party’s social media channels, as a result of which he was sentenced to three months in jail and was disbarred from practicing law. Yet, Paludan was on the verge of getting into parliament in the last Danish elections, as his radical policy of deporting 300,000 Muslims and banning Islam, found support in Denmark.
The Nordic countries have seen a rise in ethnic tensions, as many of its people fear they would lose their Nordic identity. According to a report published by Brookings in March, Sweden has historically been a safe haven for refugees and, after Canada and Australia, has taken the most refugees per capita.
Between 2013 and 2014, Sweden granted permanent residence permits to all Syrians in Sweden who sought asylum and since the beginning of the Syrian war, over 70,000 Syrians have come to Sweden. Yet, many Swedes are against the welfare, the immigrants are receiving. Swedes pay some of the highest taxes in the world, and believe the county’s model of economic sustenance would falter, as nearly 15% of immigrants are unemployed. But for the large number of immigrants, many of whom are not as skilled and educated, it means that they will depend on welfare for years, something that Swedes are becoming increasingly wary of.