Public burning of Torah scroll in Sweden halted after Israel protests

The desecration of the holy object was to have taken place during an upcoming anti-Israel demonstration in Stockholm.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Israeli foreign ministry announced Thursday that it had succeeded in freezing a demonstration in Sweden where a Torah scroll was going to be burned in public, Kan Reshet Bet reported in its morning edition.

Diplomats leaped into action after the news channel reported on the desecration an Egyptian author who lives in the country was planning as part of a protest he was organizing for the coming days in front of the Israeli embassy in Stockholm.

“We acted immediately and decisively in order to prevent the shocking and humiliating event from taking place,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Egyptian had requested police permission for the demonstration, disclosing that he planned to set fire to a Torah scroll – Judaism’s holiest religious article.

According to Kan, the Israeli embassy in the Swedish capital had been told that it was likely that the demonstration would be allowed, in all its facets, due to the protestors’ inalienable right to freedom of expression.

On Saturday, a Koran was burned by the leader of a Danish far-right party during a police-sanctioned demonstration against Turkey in front of its Swedish embassy.

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Ankara had unsuccessfully appealed to the government to prevent the protest, saying, “Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of ‘freedom of expression,’ is completely unacceptable.”

After the Koran was set aflame, Turkey immediately canceled the upcoming visit of the Swedish defense minister to the country. People held protests against Sweden throughout Turkey, while several Arab countries joined Turkey in condemning the act, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson had defended the demonstrators’ right to freedom of expression, but added in a tweet Saturday that “Burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act. I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today.”

His foreign minister, Tobias Billstrom, described the deed as “appalling.”