Swedish government considers allowing police to stop Koran burnings

(VOVWORLD) - Sweden’s government is considering changing the Public Order Act to make it possible for police to deny permission for acts such as burning the Koran but only if they threaten national security, it said on Friday.

Sweden raised its terrorist alert to the second highest level on Thursday, saying it had thwarted attacks after Koran burnings and other acts against Islam's holiest text outraged Muslims and triggered threats from jihadists. 

Insults towards public figures or against religions are protected by Sweden's far-reaching freedom of speech laws and the government rules out changing them. However, Minister of Justice Gunnar Strommer said on Friday he would appoint a commission to look into giving police wider powers to deny acts such as Koran burnings. 

“Of course, general international dissatisfaction or vague threat should not be enough – it must be about serious and qualified threats,” Strommer told a news conference. He added it could give police the power to select a different location for a protest or to dissolve it. 

An Iraqi living in Sweden has damaged several copies of the Koran in recent months. Many Muslims view desecrating the Koran as a grave offence. A media outlet linked to militant group al Qaeda has urged violent retribution against Sweden.