Sweden’s Civil Defense Minister has announced that Sweden is the target of a misinformation campaign by Russian agents, writes Reuters.
Sweden’s Civil Defense Minister Carl-Oskar Bohlin has stated that the aim of the misinformation campaign is to damage the image of the NATO candidate country, making it appear that the government supports the burning of the Quran. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden’s application to NATO is drawing more attention to it, and demonstrations in which protesters have burned the Quran have angered Muslims around the world.
Bohlin told reporters: “Sweden is the target of a disinformation campaign supported by state and state-like actors with the aim of damaging Swedish interests and … Swedish citizens. We can see how Russia-backed actors are amplifying incorrect statements such as that the Swedish state is behind the desecration of holy scriptures.” He added that such claims are absolutely false, and
Russian agents are trying to divide people and weaken Sweden’s international position.
The Russian embassy in Sweden has not commented on the minister’s statements.
Swedish Premier Ulf Kristersson has said about the situation that he wants to correct a commonly misunderstood view that the Swedish state gives permission to burn copies of the Quran: “However, the police issue permits for public gatherings – a right that is enshrined in Sweden’s constitution.” He added that there is no tradition of book burning in Sweden and pointed out that the country guarantees freedom of expression, but this does not mean that it supports any political messages.
Copies of the
Quran have been burned several times in Sweden and Denmark this summer, sparking anger among followers of Islam.
Sweden has stated that it does not support the burning of the Quran, but cannot prohibit it either, as the law protects freedom of speech and expression.
Turkey, which has still not accepted Sweden’s application for NATO membership, condemned the protests and called on the Scandinavians to punish the demonstrators.
On the 26th of July, the Swedish security service SAPO warned that Sweden’s security situation has worsened.