by Ivar Arpi
Tuesday, 17
May 2022
Profile
17:00

Rasmus Paludan: Sweden’s Koran-burning provocateur

The omertà on criticising Islam has, predictably, produced a new extremist
by Ivar Arpi
Rasmus Paludan. Credit: Getty

Koran-burning agitator Rasmus Paludan is an odd fish. No matter what you think of his political views, what he has done is uncommon — no matter where you look in the world, few dare to challenge the religion of Islam. His antics are gaining more and more attention.

His methods are as provocative as they are extreme: last month, his party live streamed Paludan burning the Koran in various Swedish cities, triggering protests and counter-protests in Malmo and elsewhere. For this stunt, Swedish Justice Minister Morgan Johansson called Paludan a “right-wing extremist fool, whose only goal is to drive violence and divisions.”

But the emergence of a character like Paludan can, in large part, be explained by the Omertà across Sweden on Islam. In a podcast in Svenska Dagbladet, the leader of the centrist party, Annie Lööf, reasoned that people should not be allowed to criticise Islam during the holy month of Ramadan, nor in “vulnerable areas” (which are dominated by Muslims) while police officer Nadim Ghazale advocated in an article in Expressen: that it should be illegal to offend Islam, because — he argues — Muslims are a vulnerable minority in Sweden.

Ghazale partly got what he wished for: Rasmus Paludan was denied permits to demonstrate in Swedish cities because the police said they were not able to protect either him or themselves. Nor is it just in Sweden where Paludan is persona non grata; around Europe, the Right-wing activist has been denied entry because he was classified as a security threat. In France, he poses a “threat to the nation’s security”; in Germany, he was denied entry twice; and in Belgium, five of his supporters were expelled.

Still, these rulings have not stopped Paludan from making political inroads. As a dual national of Denmark and Sweden, his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line) contested the last elections in Denmark in 2019 on an anti-Islam platform but fell just short of the 2% threshold needed to enter parliament. Now, the 40-year-old is turning his attention towards Sweden, where he plans to stand in September parliamentary elections. Most likely he will fail, but that’s besides the point.

When everyone else has fallen silent on legitimate matters of religious criticism, it should not be a surprise that hardline activists like Rasmus Paludan emerge. He might be a fool (he nearly lost his life in Uppsala earlier this month when a mob of angry Muslims tried to attack him), but he is a fool who points out harsh truths. He does it in a needlessly provocative manner, but this is the natural result when the entire political class has flatly refused to address the issues relating to Islam in Sweden.

Here in Sweden, we tell ourselves that we are secular and rational, believe in freedom of speech, democracy and so on. But we are only secular in relation to Christianity (and most other religions for that matter), not so much in relation to Islam. Not in public at least. Until we are free to discuss these issues, there’ll be many more Rasmus Paludans to come.

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Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 month ago

I’ve heard about him, but otherwise know nothing, but I suspect he’s a bit of a ‘pr!ck’, he is also an incredibly important ‘pr!ck’ who is ABSOLUTELY needed to puncture the inflated, blind, stupidity of politicians and people, who, in their perfect, idealised, version of Shan-gri-la, IGNORE the reality of the world.
In this, I SUPPORT WHAT THIS PARTICULAR ‘PR!CK’ IS DOING, and those, who make excuses, for what SOME muslins do, or think, ARE THE REAL ENEMY. It is bad enough, that blasphemy laws are ‘violently’ mob enforced in countries with Sharia law, but that they should be allowed to get away with it, in the name of community cohesion and ‘non-offence’ in other parts of the world, to which they have moved, often as not, to escape ‘supposed’ persecution is unforgivable.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tom Lewis
David Simpson
David Simpson
1 month ago

He’d be much better off burning the Bible – just to show what the difference is between the Muslim minority and the mostly secularist majority, and to highlight the difference between the immigrant Muslim community and the society they think they want to be part of.

PS I’m assuming absolutely nothing would happen to him anywhere in Europe (apart possibly from Poland or Hungary) if he literally set up bonfires of bibles in town squares

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 month ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Wouldn’t he be arrested and gaoled in the Irish Republic?
It’s not that long ago that a woman was refused an abortion and subsequently died, in I think Co Galway, not far the from the notorious infanticide town of Tuam.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 month ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

No he wouldn’t. There’s no blasphemy law in Ireland, and the two other things you mentioned are in fact decades ago.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 month ago

Just ignore it. It’s the typical whataboutthecrusades reasoning

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 month ago

The Republic’s Covid reaction was well OTT. Perhaps this has replaced the Catholic fanaticism of a few ‘decades’ ago?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 month ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Jeez tedious deflection that reminds me of a teenager desperately trying to be controversial in a room of adults.
What about the article?

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Your good self perhaps?

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Come off it you old hypocrite! It’s all part of the fun, admit it.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 month ago

Nonsense, the Tuam scandal is ongoing is it not?
Whilst the woman killed/murdered in Galway was only ten years ago.
However I can fully sympathise with your wish that it was decades ago! Who wouldn’t?

L i
L i
1 month ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

The woman in Galway died from sepsis, not because she didn’t have an abortion. The inquest found that had she had an abortion, she would have died sooner.

As for Tuam, a large number of infants died due to contagious diseases com.on at the time. Allegations of infanticide and so on are without evidence .

Last edited 1 month ago by lisa.babyford.irwin5
ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 month ago
Reply to  L i

Did she* or did she not ask for an abortion?And was the reply not :“No, this is a Catholic country”?

The death rate in Tuam was reported to be four times the national average.
However it is far too late to provide any meaningful evidence, as all the participants are very conveniently dead, would you not agree?

(* An Indian Dentist as it so happens.)

Doug Pingel
Doug Pingel
1 month ago

How about “Acting in a manner likely to cause a breech of the peace. In the UK it would come under “Hate” laws. In Scotland even Thought laws. There’s always a way of giving a pleb a good official kicking.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
1 month ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Good idea – burn the two side by side and highlight the differing reactions !!

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 month ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

He might be able to persuade some Christian bishops to come and burn one; the bible, of course.

David Bell
David Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Interesting idea. He should burn one of each at the same time to compare the social effect.

Peter Sedlmayr
Peter Sedlmayr
1 month ago

There is one important think he gets right. In accordance with „Western Values“ and the local law, it is perfectly possible to buy a (whatever) book and then destroy this property by burning it, even after announcing this in public. What he is demonstrating is not only the incompatibility of the culture of the immigrants with the indigenous one, but also the distance of the political class from the often-implored Western Values.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
1 month ago

I love the way that the police’s reason for not allowing the protest is fear of his and their own safety. Nothing says religion of peace like the police being afraid of being killed.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 month ago

The reaction to Paludan’s antics only proves that Islam is truly a religion of peace and Muslims are civilized. It also shows the wisdom behind the immigration policy (or lack of )of most central and Northern European countries.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 month ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

Glad to see that the spirit of ‘La Reconquista’ lives on.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
1 month ago

Islam is actually a political ideology dressed up as a religion. In ultraconservative dictatorships, dictators use Islam to suppress freedom of expression. But in liberal democracies, it is Islam that uses liberal politicians as its useful idiots to suppress freedom of expression. The goal of Islam is to stamp out free individual thoughts: it offers well defined rules for carrying out every human activity from the first prayer in the morning to the last prayer at night. No human activity escapes Islam: everything is either halal or haram. In demand for total submission, Islam respects nothing except it self. As such, anything that is outside of Islam is considered a provocation to Islam.

Last edited 1 month ago by Vijay Kant
K G
K G
1 month ago

I am just going to point out for people commending this person’s actions, that many secular people often bemoan book-burning, as long as the book isn’t the Qur’an, or the Bible.

Graham Willis
Graham Willis
1 month ago
Reply to  K G

But ritualistic book-burning is distinct from agitating for the censorship of a book I think.

David Bell
David Bell
1 month ago

His book, he can do what he likes with it (as long as he doesn’t litter a public space).