Norway Bans Planned Anti-Islam Protest Outside Turkish Embassy Over Fears of Quran Book Burning
Thomas Brooke, Remix, February 2, 2023
The Norwegian government has banned an anti-Islam demonstration due to take place on Friday outside the Turkish embassy in Oslo citing security concerns, it has emerged.
The Norwegian police, who canceled the event on advice from the Norwegian foreign ministry, revealed authorities were concerned that protesters planned to burn a copy of the Quran, imitating an event that took place in Sweden last month and enraged the Islamic world.
“The police emphasize that burning the Quran is a legal political statement in Norway, but this event can’t go ahead due to security concerns,” Oslo Police Inspector Martin Strand told local media.
The far-right Stop the Islamization of Norway (SIAN) organization confirmed to Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang on Thursday that its supporters planned to burn the Quran at the protest outside the Turkish embassy.
“I applied to hold a political demonstration on Friday in front of the Turkish embassy. I do this in the context of Turkey’s intolerance of Western values of freedom. We cannot let Erdoğan rule with the authorities in Western countries, the organization’s leader Lars Thorsen told the newspaper.
Following its knowledge of the planned demonstration, Turkey summoned the Norwegian ambassador in Ankara to express the government’s outrage the event had been given the green light by Norwegian authorities.
Norway’s foreign ministry subsequently demanded the demonstration be called off, revealing Ankara had warned it was a “provocative act.”
In a statement, Norway’s foreign ministry revealed the country’s ambassador to Turkey had “pointed out that freedom of expression is enshrined in the constitution in Norway, and that the Norwegian authorities neither support nor stand behind the announced demonstration.” However, the decision to ban the demonstration appears to have been taken nonetheless.
A similar demonstration was allowed to take place outside the Turkish embassy in Sweden last month when Danish fringe politician Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Islamic holy book. Ankara was so incensed that the protest had been allowed to take place that it canceled planned talks with the Swedish government over Sweden’s ambitions to join NATO.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan consequently said his government may end up approving Finland’s membership application, but wouldn’t ratify Sweden joining the alliance until it started to crack down on anti-Turkey protests in the country and extradited asylum seekers Ankara deems to be terrorists.