MALMO (Sweden): Far-right activists have burned a Holy Koran in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, sparking riots and unrest after more than 300 people gathered to protest.
Rioters set fires and threw objects at police and rescue services on Friday night, slightly injuring several police officers and leading to the detention of about 15 people.
The violence followed the burning of a Koran on Friday afternoon, near a predominantly migrant neighbourhood, carried out by far-right activists and filmed and posted online, according to the TT news agency.
Later, three people were arrested on suspicion of inciting hatred against an ethnic group after kicking the Muslim holy book.
The head of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Miguel Moratinos, expressed “unequivocal condemnation of the burning of the Quran by far-right extremists … as despicable and totally unacceptable,” his spokeswoman said.
She said Mr Moratinos called on religious leaders of all faiths to denounce all violence based on religious belief. Ms Nihal added: “Such deplorable acts perpetrated by hate mongers … and other radical groups incite violence and tear apart the fabric of our communities.”
Earlier on Friday, Paludan, who leads the far-right Danish anti-immigration Hard Line party, was stopped at the border with Denmark and subsequently banned from entering Sweden for two years.
Paludan was due to travel to Malmo to speak at Friday’s event. But authorities pre-empted his arrival by announcing the ban and briefly detaining him near Malmo. “We suspect that he was going to break the law in Sweden,” Calle Persson, spokesman for the police in Malmo said.
Paludan later put up a scathing message on Facebook. “Sent back and banned from Sweden for two years. However, rapists and murderers are always welcome!” he wrote. Paludan last year attracted media attention for burning a Quran wrapped in bacon – a meat banned in Islam.
In June, Paludan was sentenced to a three-month prison sentence in Denmark over various violations of that country’s hate-speech laws.