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Taliban ban Sweden activities over Quran desecration

AT News

KABUL – The interim Taliban government has banned all activities involving Sweden in Afghanistan, which includes the operations of non-governmental organizations associated with the country. This decision comes in response to an incident where a copy of the Quran was publicly burned in Stockholm two weeks ago.

According to the Taliban’s statement, the Islamic Emirate (as the Taliban government refers to itself) has suspended Sweden’s activities in Afghanistan until an apology is issued for the offensive act against the Holy Quran and the Muslim faith. Bilal Karimi, the Taliban’s deputy spokesman, expressed that this veto takes effect immediately after the statement’s publication, while also accusing the Swedish government of permitting actions that deeply hurt the sentiments of Muslims.

Among the organizations potentially affected by this measure is the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, a prominent NGO that focuses on healthcare and education in Afghanistan. With over 7,400 Afghan employees, it plays a significant role in the country’s development.

The Quran burning incident occurred on June 28, coinciding with the Muslim festival of Eid al Adha. While approximately 200 people attended the act in Stockholm, there were no major incidents due to a strong police presence. The incident received condemnation both within the Arab and Islamic world, prompting countries such as Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates to summon their Swedish ambassadors for consultations.

Previous incidents involving the burning of the Quran have also elicited diplomatic protests and criticism. For instance, in January, a far-right sympathizer burned a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Sweden, resulting in condemnation from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Additionally, 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.

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