Who is Rasmus Paludan, the Swedish far-right leader who burnt Quran in front of Turkish embassy

Following a nearly hour-long tirade in which he disparaged Islam and immigration in Sweden, Paludan lit the Quran on fire with a lighter.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Sunday, January 22, 2023, 03:44 PM IST
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Rasmus Paludan burning Quran in a protest in front of Turkish Embassy. | Twitter

The anti-Islamic extremist's burning of the Quran during the protests in Stockholm on Saturday attracted international outrage and heightened relations with Turkey.

Quran-burning sparks international outrage

The Swedish defence minister's visit to Turkey was cancelled on Saturday due to the protest. Turkish officials also denounced the approval given to right-wing Swedish-Danish lawmaker Rasmus Paludan to hold a rally on Saturday in front of Turkey's embassy in the Swedish capital.

Following a nearly hour-long tirade in which he disparaged Islam and immigration in Sweden, Paludan lit the Quran on fire with a lighter.

“If you don’t think there should be freedom of expression, you have to live somewhere else," Paludan told the crowd gathered there.

In order to "condemn this provocative behaviour, which is clearly a hate crime — in strongest terms," Turkey had previously called Sweden's envoy to Ankara on Saturday, a diplomatic source claimed. Additionally, it called on Sweden to take the required legal action against the offenders and asked all nations to take effective action against Islamophobia.

The act of Quran-burning by anti-Islam campaigner Rasmus Paludan were denounced by Turkish authorities on Twitter on Saturday. President of Turkey's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin described it as a heinous act against humanity.

Who is Rasmus Paludan?

Danish-Swedish politician and far-right extremist Rasmus Paludan is the leader of the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party in Denmark.

In numerous of his events, the Quran was set on fire, which sparked violent counterprotests and the burning of vehicles. He set the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan's effigy on fire in Stockholm last week.

According to the police permission he was issued, his protest was held in opposition to Islam and what it said was Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's intention to restrict free speech in Sweden.

In April of last year, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Paludan declared he would embark on a "Quran burning tour" and began setting fire to the holy book in locations with a predominance of Muslim residents.

History of being in news for wrong reasons

Earlier in 2020, Paludan was convicted and jailed for a month for posting anti-Islam videos on his party's social media channels.

Paludan was given a suspended jail term for racism in 2019 and the court heard that influenced the latest verdict.

He was charged with 14 offences, including racism, defamation, and reckless driving.

Paludan, 38, was given a one-year driving restriction in addition to a three-year criminal law bar suspension.

In the 2019 national elections, Stram Kurs received 1.8% of the vote, just shy of the 2% threshold required to enter parliament.

It ran on a platform of outlawing Islam and expelling all Muslims from Denmark. The Quran has been burned during Paludan's demonstrations in places with ethnic minority populations.

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