Sweden Seek To Improve Ties With Muslim World Amid Backlash Over Quran Burnings

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Sweden Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom – AFP pic.
Sweden Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom – AFP pic.

“Restoring trust and confidence takes time. I will devote a substantial part of this electoral period to strengthening relationships with Muslim countries,” – Sweden Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom

LONDON — Sweden wants to strengthen relations with Muslim countries, the Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said, as the country drew criticism over the repeated desecration of the Quran in the country, reported Anadolu Agency.

In a statement on Saturday (5 August), the Foreign Ministry said that Billstrom had a conversation with more than 20 ambassadors of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states in the capital Stockholm on Friday.

He said they have had “a fruitful and constructive meeting,” adding he is keen to continue “open and constructive dialogue.”

“Restoring trust and confidence takes time. I will devote a substantial part of this electoral period to strengthening relationships with Muslim countries,” Billstrom said.

He said his government “strongly rejects” the burnings of copies of holy scriptures, adding that the Justice Ministry has initiated an analysis and is working on the terms of reference for an inquiry to review the Public Order Act.

“I intend to travel to OIC countries, and Sweden will host discussions and dialogues in connection with the UN General Assembly in New York in September,” he added.

Earlier this week, Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer said that one potential solution to prevent the desecration of the Quran could be to use emergency powers that the government can wield under the Public Order Act.

Jakob Forssmed, the Swedish social affairs minister, also had a meeting with representatives from different faith-based organisations in the Swedish capital on Friday.

Recent months have seen repeated acts of Quran burning, desecration, or attempts to do so by Islamophobic figures or groups, especially in northern European and Nordic countries. – Bernama-Anadolu

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