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Police: Koran burning would not be allowed in Finland

The desecration of a book held sacred by a religious community would likely violate Finland's protection of religious peace.

Koraani istanbulilaisessa museossa
The Koran (or Quran) is believed to date back to the seventh century. Image: Yle
Yle News

Police in Finland would not allow a public burning of the Koran, as has occurred recently in Sweden and Denmark, according to the National Police Board. Finnish law stipulates that violating religious peace is a punishable offence, the police board said in a statement to the Finnish News Agency STT.

The public burning or other desecration of a book held sacred by a religious community would be likely to meet the hallmarks of this crime, it said on Monday.

In recent weeks, a Danish far-right politician has burned Korans at events in Stockholm and Copenhagen, including outside Turkish embassies. Police in these countries have allowed the events to go ahead, saying that the actions did not violate any laws.

An Yle poll in 2021 found that a majority of Finnish MPs did not want to change Finland's law on the sanctity of religion, which includes the possibility of a six-month prison sentence for blasphemy.

However, some MPs called for changes to the law based on freedom of speech concerns.

The UN Human Rights Committee has urged Finland to change the criminal provision, arguing that it restricts freedom of expression.

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