Sweden raises its terror threat to four out of five after Quran burnings

Sweden has raised its terror threat to four out of five after a series of public Quran burnings enraged Muslim communities around the world.

Acting on advice from law enforcement and security service leaders, the Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson made the announcement on Thursday.

It comes after a recent string of public desecrations of the Quran in the Scandinavian country by a handful of anti-Islam activists, sparking angry demonstrations across Muslim countries.

"I understand that many Swedes are right now feeling worried about the meaning of the new and raised threat level," said Kristersson. "To all of you I want to, like the police, say that we should live our lives as usual. We protect our open society against those who threaten it. We stand up for our democratic values but we protect ourselves. We stand up for our way of life but we protect ourselves."

Sweden and neighbouring Denmark have recently seen a spate of public desecrations of the Koran, including burnings, which have sparked widespread outrage and condemnation in Muslim countries.

Islam critics Salwan Momika and Salwan Najem on Monday recently gave speeches and burned a Quran in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, the latest in a series of such incidents.

Fareed Khan/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Supporters of a religious group 'Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F' party during a rally to denounce the burning of the 'Quran,' in Sweden in Karachi, Pakistan, July 23, 2023 - Fareed Khan/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

The Iraqi nationals, who live in Sweden, first kicked the book between them and then set it on fire. Pictures of Muslim leaders were also displayed and trampled on.

According to the Swedish Prime Minister, Hezbollah in Lebanon, al-Shabaab in Somalia and al-Qaida are among the groups that have called on their sympathisers around the world to avenge the Quran burnings.

He added that some terror attempts have already been averted but he didn't go into details.

Norway also said it had no plans to change its threat assessment from its current three out of five.