Finland Police Claim to Have Shut Down Qur’an Burning Protest

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - JANUARY 21: Rasmus Paludan holds a burning Koran outside of the Turkis
Jonas Gratzer/Getty Images

Finnish police claim to have shut down a protest that would have seen a copy of the Islamic Qur’an set on fire as part of a demonstration against the country joining the NATO alliance.

The Helsinki Police Department stated this week that there had been a plan to burn a copy of the Qur’an in the city last week during an anti-NATO demonstration but the intentions were reported to authorities ahead of the protest.

“We contacted the organiser of the demonstration and told them that this is not legal in Finland,” Chief Superintendent Heikki Porola of the Helsinki Police Department told broadcaster Yle.

“It is very typical that we contact the organiser of a demonstration in advance so that the event is carried out in accordance with the law,” Parola added.

The police shutdown of the burning of the Qur’an comes after the book was burned in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, Sweden by anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan last month, which sparked fury from Turkey and other parts of the Islamic world.

In reaction to the burning, the al-Azhar University in Cairo, one of the centres of Sunni Islamic thought, called for a boycott of Swedish products, while the Turkish government condemned the Swedish government for allowing the demonstration to go forward.

“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,” Turkey said.

Tensions were already high between Sweden and Turkey prior to Plaudan;’s Qur’an burning over Sweden’s desire to join the NATO military alliance, something Turkey has yet to approve after claiming Sweden harboured many alleged terrorists and has demanded Sweden deport them to Turkey.

This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that he was open to Finnish membership in NATO but not Sweden and commented on the Qur’an burning saying, “We don’t behave like them. That’s not how we were raised. Did Islam disappear because they burned the Qur’an?”

“They are ignorant. Perverted. They think that because they burned the Qur’an, the job is done, but it’s not. This will only strengthen our faith,” Erdogan added.


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


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