Sunni Muslims Call for Boycott of Swedish Goods After Qur’an Burning Protest in Stockholm

TOPSHOT - Protesters burn a flag of Sweden during a demonstration against the burning of t

Leaders in the Sunni branch of Islam have called for boycotts of Swedish goods following the burning of a copy of the Islamic Qur’an last weekend, and are considering a similar boycott for the Netherlands.

The al-Azhar University in Cairo, one of the centres of Sunni Islamic thought, has called for a boycott of Swedish products this week just days after Danish anti-Islamisation activist Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Qur’an in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

The university is also considering a boycott of products from the Netherlands following a similar Qur’an protest by Edwin Wagensveld, the leader of the Dutch branch of the anti-Islamisation activist group PEGIDA at the Hague, the newspaper Aftonbladet reports.

Jan Hjärpe, professor of Islamology at Lund University, commented on the call to boycott Swedish goods saying, “This is a powerful marking that can have effects, al-Azhar University is the most famous of the Sunni universities and has a very strong position in the Islamic world.”

According to Hjärpe, the boycott could also have an effect on sales of products from the Islamic world to Sweden, such as oil.

Since last weekend’s burning of the Qur’an by Mr Paludan, who sparked massive rioting across several Swedish cities by burning the Islamic holy book last year as well, the Turkish government has expressed anger that the Swedish government allowed the demonstration to occur.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the vile attack on our holy book … Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of freedom of expression is completely unacceptable,” the Turkish government said.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson later commented on the controversial demonstration saying, “Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act. I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today.”

However, some criticised his statement, including his political allies the populist Sweden Democrats in internal emails that were published by Aftonbladet earlier this week.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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