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Sweden foils 'terror plot tied to Koran-burning stunt', arresting five

Sweden foils ‘terror plot tied to Koran-burning stunt’ as five people with ‘links to international Islamic extremism’ are arrested

  • The five suspects with links to extremism were detained across three cities 
  • Comes after Rasmus Paludan sparked outrage by burning Koran in January

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of planning a ‘terrorist act’ in a case linked to a Koran-burning protest in Stockholm earlier this year.

The suspects – who Sweden’s security service believe have international links to violent Islamist extremist – were detained after coordinated raids in three different cities this morning.

‘The current case is one of several that the Security Police has worked on after the protests that were directed at Sweden in connection with the highly publicised burning of the Koran in January,’ the security service said in a statement. 

Far-right activist Rasmus Pauldan sparked outrage by burning a Koran in front of the Turkish embassy – with permission from the Swedish authorities – in January.

The protest became part of a diplomatic row between Turkey and Sweden – with the former holding up the Nordic country’s accession to NATO. 

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of planning a ‘terrorist act’ in a case linked to a Koran-burning protest in Stockholm (pictured) earlier this year

Far-right activist Rasmus Pauldan (pictured) sparked outrage by burning a Koran – with permission from the authorities – in front of the Turkish embassy in January

Paludan’s action caused fury in Turkey, which criticised Swedish authorities for allowing the demonstration to take place outside the Turkish embassy. 

Far-right journalist Chang Frick – who has links to Putin’s Russia – is alleged to have paid the fee for the shocking demonstration – and promised to cover any damages he incurred as a result.

The activist wanted to ‘mark some freedom of speech’ by burning the Koran after the hanging of an effigy of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan near the Stockholm city hall provoked a strong response in Turkey. Sweden also condemned the stunt.

READ MORE: Sweden grants permission to burn the KORAN outside Turkish embassy – as Erdogan continues to block country’s NATO bid

Riots erupted in Malmö in April last year after Paludan visited Sweden ahead of an election, intending to burn the Koran to drum up support for his movement, and previously in August 2020 when activists burned the Koran after Paludan was arrested.

At the time of the Stockholm Koran-burning, President Erdogan cast serious doubt on NATO’s expansion, warning Sweden not to expect support for its membership bid in the military alliance.

Turkey also indefinitely postponed a key meeting in Brussels that would have discussed Sweden and Finland’s NATO’s membership, saying such a meeting would have been ‘meaningless’.

Sweden and Finland both abandoned their long-standing policies of military non-alignment and applied for NATO membership after Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

But while Finland are set to officially join NATO today after receiving Turkey’s backing, President Erdogan still needs to be convinced on voting for Sweden, as Ankara has serious concerns over them being too soft on groups that it deems to be terror organisations. 

Turkey is pressing Sweden to crack down on Kurdish militants and other groups it considers terrorists.

President Tayyip Erdogan (pictured) is holding up Sweden’s accession to NATO as Turkey presses the Nordic country to crack down on terror groups

An effigy of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan which provoked a strong response in Turkey

Pauldan, who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship, further infuriated the Muslim world by burning a Koran outside a mosque in Copenhagen a week later after doing so in Stockholm.

During Paludan’s protest outside the mosque on January 27, loud music blared from inside the holy building in an apparent attempt to drown him out.

The politician, who has police protection and was then driven away by officers, said in a live broadcast: ‘This mosque has no place in Denmark.’

The activist, who had police protection, was then driven away in a police car.

In his live feed, he said he would repeat the demonstration outside the Turkish and Russian embassies.

Paludan, who has previously been convicted for racist abuse, has been at the centre of anti-Islamic politics in northern Europe for several years.

Paludan also burned a copy of the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen in January

He rose to fame with the launch of his far-right party Stram Kurs, which translates as ‘Hard Line’, in Denmark in 2017.

Meanwhile, his far-right party in Sweden received just 156 votes nationwide in last year’s parliamentary election.

The lawyer and YouTuber is known for burning the Koran and for calling for the deportation of all Muslims from Denmark.

Paludan previously said: ‘The enemy is Islam and Muslims. The best thing would be if there were not a single Muslim left on this earth. Then we would have reached our final goal.’

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