The anti-Islam politician whose Quran-burning escapades in Stockholm earlier this year resulted in a diplomatic storm between Sweden and Turkey has been banned from entering the United Kingdom ahead of a planned demonstration.
In a video circulating on social media, Rasmus Paludan, a dual Swedish and Danish national, pledged to burn a copy of the Quran on Wednesday in Wakefield, an English city in the north of England that has a large Muslim community, to coincide with the start of Ramadan.
He claimed his intended actions were in solidarity with an autistic 14-year-old school boy who reportedly received death threats earlier this month after dropping a copy of the Islamic holy book at a secondary school in the city.
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A police spokesperson confirmed that “minor damage was caused to a religious text” in what they recorded as a “hate incident,” but added they were satisfied that “no criminal offenses were committed.”
It is understood the boy was told by fellow pupils to bring in a copy of the Quran as a forfeit for losing the popular video game Call of Duty.
Minister of State for Security Tom Tugendhat confirmed on Monday that Paludan would not be allowed entry into the United Kingdom.
Responding in the House of Commons to a question by Wakefield’s Labour MP Simon Lightwood on whether the government would intervene regarding the planned demonstration, Tugendhat confirmed: “His (Paludan’s) travel to the United Kingdom would not be conducive to the public good, and he will not be allowed access.”
European governments have cracked down on Quran-burning demonstrations following the political fallout of Paludan’s activity outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm in January this year, which resulted in Turkey threatening to veto Sweden’s application to join NATO.
The Norwegian government banned an anti-Islam demonstration due to take place last month outside the Turkish embassy in Oslo citing security concerns, and the Swedish government prohibited a repeat of January’s events also last month; the latter was organized by a group of anti-NATO protesters intent on further thwarting Sweden’s ambitions to join the defense alliance.