Taliban ban Sweden’s activities in Afghanistan after Quran burning

Kabul, Jul 11 (EFE).- The Taliban interim government on Tuesday banned all of Sweden’s activities in Afghanistan, including the work of non-governmental organizations linked to the country, after a person publicly burned a copy of the Quran in Stockholm two weeks ago.

“After insulting the Holy Quran and the Muslim faith in Sweden, the Islamic Emirate (as the Taliban government calls itself) suspends Sweden’s activities in Afghanistan until it apologizes to the Muslims for this heinous act,” it said in a statement.

Bilal Karimi, the Taliban’s deputy spokesman, told EFE that the veto is effective “from the publication of the statement” and accused the Swedish government of allowing acts that “hurt the feelings of Muslims.”

Potentially affected by this measure includes the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, one of the largest NGOs active in Afghanistan focused on the fields of health and education, with more than 7,400 Afghan employees, according to the organization.

On June 28, the first day of the celebration of Eid al Adha, an individual of Iraqi origin burned a copy of the Quran in Stockholm in an act attended by some 200 people, with a strong police presence as it coincided with the Muslim sacrifice festival and without serious incidents taking place.

The act was condemned at a popular and official level in the Arab and Islamic world, and countries such as Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan and the Emirates called the Swedish ambassadors in their respective countries for consultations.

In January, a far-right sympathizer burned a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Sweden, causing diplomatic protests and criticism from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A day later, a leader of the anti-Muslim Pegida movement, Edwin Wagensveld, vandalized a copy of the Quran in front of the Dutch Parliament in The Hague. EFE


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