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Sweden secures first hate speech conviction after Quran burning

For the first time, a Swedish man has been convicted of hate speech for a Quran-burning-related offence. The verdict comes after a series of such…

For the first time, a Swedish man has been convicted of hate speech for a Quran-burning-related offence.

The verdict comes after a series of such demonstrations caused a furore in the Muslim world and added to Turkey’s reticence on accepting Sweden’s bid to become a member of the defence alliance NATO.

The actions have also fueled a debate on legal options to block people from desecrating Islam’s holy book.

The district court in Linkoping concluded that while the act of burning a Quran in itself is not illegal, the 27-year-old intended to threaten Muslims when he posted a video of himself burning Islam’s holy book.

On Thursday, he was convicted of “agitation against an ethnic or national group” and handed a suspended sentence, meaning a two-year probation period during which he faces a different sanction if he’s sentenced again.

The video was posted on September 11, 2020, on Twitter, the social media platform currently known as X. It showed a Quran being burnt alongside bacon — meat many Muslims abstain from eating — on a barbecue grill and was set to music that according to the court is “closely associated” with the 2019 terror attack on mosques in New Zealand, in which 51 people were killed.

“The court has found that the video targeted Muslims, and not Islam as a religion,” it said in a statement.

 “The contents of the video, and how it was published, make it clear that the defendants’ primary purpose couldn’t have been anything other than to threaten and express disregard,” it added. (BNN Bloomberg)

 

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