Sweden Incident: Testing Freedom of Religion Constitution in International Law

The Quran burning incident in Stockholm has garnered international attention, sparked widespread protests, and ignited a contentious debate on freedom of expression. The incident has underscored the tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in the country. It has raised crucial questions about the limits of freedom of expression and freedom of religion constitution in a multicultural society.

The incident involved the burning of a Quran by a man protesting against what he perceived as the increasing influence of Islam in Sweden.

Details of the Incident

The Quran burning incident occurred in Stockholm when a man, whose identity remains unknown, burned a Quran to protest. During the Bakri Eid celebrations 2023, a disturbing incident unfolded outside a mosque in Stockholm, Sweden.

An individual identified as Salwan Momika, an Iraqi refugee, engaged in great disrespect by burning certain pages of The Holy Quran. Adding to the offense, he placed a strip of bacon on the sacred book and proceeded to trample on it with his foot.

Another protester stood by, translating Momika’s words. This shocking incident took place on June 28 amidst the festivities of Eid-al-Adha.

The man had obtained a permit from the Swedish police, who deemed it protected under freedom of expression laws. The act was seen as a direct response to what the man perceived as the growing presence of Islam in Sweden.

Global Reactions and Consequences

The burning of the Quran triggered widespread condemnation and protests, particularly in Muslim-majority countries. Many Muslim leaders and organizations called for the arrest and prosecution of the individual responsible for the act.

Some leaders even advocated for a boycott of Swedish goods. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged Sweden to take urgent measures to combat religious hatred, emphasizing the need for swift action.

Internationally, the United Nations Human Rights Council expressed deep concern over the incident, urging Sweden to safeguard the right to freedom of religion constitution without fear of discrimination or violence.

While the Swedish government condemned the Quran burning, it emphasized its commitment to protecting man’s right to freedom of expression. It underscores the complex balance between freedom of speech and the need to prevent harm or discrimination.


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Debating Freedom of Expression and Religious Freedom

The Quran burning incident has reignited an ongoing debate regarding the limits of freedom of expression in a multicultural society.

While freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, it must be balanced with the preservation of religious freedom and protection against hate speech or incitement to violence.

The incident raises important questions about the freedom of religion amendment. It also demands answers to how societies should navigate these competing interests and promote respectful dialogue and understanding.

Challenges in a Multicultural Society

The incident in Sweden sheds light on multicultural societies’ challenges in maintaining social cohesion and religious harmony.

Balancing the freedom to express dissenting views with the responsibility to prevent harm and discrimination requires careful consideration. It calls for open dialogue, education, and an environment that promotes mutual respect and understanding among diverse communities.

The Quran burning incident in Sweden has reverberated globally, exposing the tensions between freedom of expression and the need to safeguard religious freedom. It has ignited protests, condemnation, and calls for action from Muslim leaders and organizations.

Quran burning incident

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The incident highlights societies’ complexities in upholding democratic principles while preserving social harmony. It serves as a reminder of the importance of engaging in respectful and constructive conversations. There is a need to build international laws to bridge divides and promote inclusivity in multicultural societies.

United Nations Human Rights Council

Burning a Quran outside the main mosque in Stockholm has caused global outrage. It has triggered a diplomatic backlash across the Muslim world.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has announced an urgent session to address the issue in response to the incident. During the Eid al-Adha holiday and the culmination of the Hajj pilgrimage, the incident has led to heightened tensions and calls for action.

UN Human Rights Council Response

In response to the burning of the Quran in Stockholm, the UN Human Rights Council will convene an urgent session to discuss the alarming rise in premeditated and public acts of religious hatred.

Pakistan asked for an urgent debate on behalf of several Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members, including members of the Human Rights Council.

The Debate and Agenda Change About the Freedom of Religion Constitution

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council will modify its agenda to accommodate the urgent debate on the burning of the Quran. The debate will focus on the issue of religious hatred and the desecration of the holy Quran in European and other countries.

The council spokesperson, Pascal Sim, confirmed that the debate would occur during the ongoing session until July 14. The council’s bureau will determine the date and time of the debate.

Global Significance and Diplomatic Backlash

The burning of the Quran in Stockholm has reverberated globally, leading to widespread condemnation and diplomatic repercussions. The incident has sparked outrage and calls for action from Muslim-majority countries and organizations.

The urgent UN Human Rights Council session underscores the gravity of the issue and the need for international attention and response.

Implications and Tensions

The burning of the Quran in Sweden follows a similar incident in January, where a far-right Danish-Swedish figure burned a Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm. These incidents have strained diplomatic ties between Turkey and Sweden, complicating Sweden’s bid to join NATO.

The Swedish police had previously rejected two requests to protest by burning Qurans. It cited security concerns and potential threats to foreign embassies.

Legal and Social Debate in Sweden About Freedom of Religion Constitution

The incident in Stockholm raises ongoing debates in Sweden regarding the balance between free speech and religious tolerance. The Swedish court had overturned the police’s decision to ban Quran-burning protests, citing insufficient evidence.

The country continues to grapple with the implications of allowing such demonstrations while upholding principles of free speech and religious respect.

Calls for Action and Investigation

The Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called for stripping Salwan Momika. He is the Iraqi immigrant involved in the incident, of his citizenship, and for his repatriation to Iraq for prosecution.

The Stockholm police are investigating Momika for violating the burning ban and incitement against a group of people.


The burning of the Quran in Stockholm has triggered global outrage. It has prompted the United Nations Human Rights Council to hold an urgent session to address the incident. The debate will focus on the rise of religious hatred and the desecration of the holy Quran in various countries.

The incident highlights the importance of promoting religious tolerance and respect. It also demands international cooperation to combat religious hatred and discrimination. It is really a test of international law’s commitment to protecting the freedom of religion constitution.

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