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The Swedish state does not condone Koran burnings, foreign minister says

file photo: demonstrators take part in a protest, against the insult to the koran in stockholm, in tehran
FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators burn the Swedish flag during a protest against the insult to the Koran in Stockholm, in Tehran, Iran July 21, 2023. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo

The Swedish state does not sanction or condone Koran burnings but they are permitted by Swedish freedom of speech laws, Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Thursday.

“In some countries there is a perception that the Swedish state is behind or condone this. We don’t,” Billstrom told reporters.

“These are acts committed by individuals, but they do it within the framework of freedom of speech laws,” he said.

On Wednesday, Sweden accused Russia and other state-sponsored actors of spreading disinformation designed to harm Sweden’s reputation and damage the Nordic country’s bid to join NATO.

Billstrom said he had been in touch with the foreign ministers of Iran, Iraq, Algeria and Lebanon among others as well as the United Nations secretary-general.

“And just now I will speak to the secretary-general for the Organisation of Islamic Countries,” Billstrom said.

“We will discuss these issues and it’s important to stress that this is a long-term issue, there are no quick fixes,” he said.

Sweden has seen several protests in recent weeks where copies of the Koran have been damaged or burned, causing outrage among Muslims.

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