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Denmark Bans Quran-Burner Rasmus Paludan From Major Political Event

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Denmark Bans Quran-Burner Rasmus Paludan From Major Political Event


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rasmus paludan, quran-burning demonstration, police protection, security risk, danish politics, sweden’s nato bid

rasmus paludan, quran-burning demonstration, police protection, security risk, danish politics, sweden’s nato bid

Rasmus Paludan rose to notoriety when he torched a pile of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, ostensibly in celebration of and to protect free speech. Not only has this resulted in his needing costly police protection, but has also sparked international rows, among other things jeopardizing Sweden’s NATO bid.

Danish authorities have banned controversial politician Rasmus Paludan, infamous for his Quran-burning antics, from attending a major political festival on the island of Bornholm for security reasons.

Local police authorities on Tuesday imposed a ban on Paludan from Allinge village and its environs – including local waters – which is where the Folkemodet festival takes place, from the morning of 14 June to midday on 18 June, on the grounds that his appearance would represent a risk both to himself and others.

Over the years, the divisive chairman of the ethno-nationalist Hard Line Party has usually been protected by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (DSIS). However, this time the DSIS washed its hands of the radical politician, specifically informing the Bornholm police that maintaining personal protection would be impossible.

Paludan said that the restriction put him in a dangerous position.

“The police are forcing me to hold the debate in a place which makes it most dangerous for me, but which is at a safe distance from the mink killer,” Paludan told Danish media, most probably referring to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic ordered the culling of 15 million farmed mink.

Nevertheless, he pledged to appear at the festival, despite the ban. “I will follow the instructions and stay outside the prohibited zone. It will probably be the case that I will be left unprotected, so that any terrorist can shoot me,” he added.

A Dilemma Between Security and Free Speech

Former DSIS operational chief Hans Jorgen Bonnichsen argued that the Paludan case represented a “terrible dilemma”, because of the authority’s duty to protect people, regardless of what statements they make. He also described failure to do so as “in principle, a capitulation”.

Frederik Waage, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Southern Denmark, said the ban from Folkemodet was “absolutely extraordinary”, as Denmark hasn’t witnessed anything like this before. Waage also argued that the case raises fundamental questions about the protection of freedom of expression and where to draw the line.

Who is Rasmus Paludan?

Paludan, leader of the fringe Hard Line Party, which seeks to ban Islam and non-European immigration, rose to notoriety by torching a number of copies of Islam’s centerpiece, the Quran, ostensibly to protect free speech. However, this causes tempers to run high, as his demonstrations often take place in immigrant-dense suburban areas or near mosques and have led to massive riots and destruction. In 2019, he ran for parliament, with his party just missing the 2 percent threshold. In the years that followed, threats against Paludan increased in strength and seriousness (particularly when he appeared on Al-Qaeda’s* death list), and he has since enjoyed protection from the intelligence service’s bodyguards at demonstrations and other events, which has set the Danish state coffers back more than DKK 100Mln (nearly $15Mln).
Earlier this year, Paludan, who also has a Swedish passport, made international headlines by burning a copy of the Quran outside the premises of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, ostensibly in a bid to give President Recep Erdogan a “lesson in free speech” in connection with Sweden’s stalled NATO bid. Though immediately condemned by Swedish leaders and other European nations, his inflammatory demonstrations prompted Turkiye‘s wrath and seriously crippled Stockholm’s possible NATO membership.

* Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and other countries





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