Sweden will intensify internal border controls

Sweden will intensify internal border controls

Controls at Sweden’s internal borders will be tightened, the Swedish Prime Minister announced on Tuesday, August 1, after several burnings and desecrations of the Koran which sparked a diplomatic crisis with several Muslim states.

“People with a very weak connection to Sweden should not be able to travel to Sweden to commit crimes or act against interests” of this country in terms of security, declared the head of government Ulf Kristersson during a press conference, stressing that an official decision on this subject would be taken on Thursday.

Concretely, nationals of other Schengen countries will be subject to increased security checks when they want to go to Sweden, said Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer, with whom the Prime Minister held the press conference.

“Internal border controls allow us to identify travelers who arrive (at our place) and who can threaten our security”he stressed, noting that the Swedish police would benefit from more means to carry out these inspections.

Diplomatic crisis

These announcements come as Sweden finds itself mired in a diplomatic crisis with several Muslim states which accuse it of having authorized several desecrations of the Koran on its soil.

On Monday, two men set fire to a copy of the holy book of Muslims in front of Parliament in Stockholm. At the end of June, these same two men had burned a few pages of the Koran in front of the largest mosque in the Swedish capital, and on July 20, they had once again desecrated this text, without burning it, in front of the Iraqi embassy.

Desecrations against freedom of expression

These actions have caused great tension in the Muslim world: the Swedish embassy in Baghdad was set on fire before being temporarily repatriated to Stockholm, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said “disappointed” Monday by the absence according to her of measures taken by Sweden and Denmark where similar events took place.

Sweden condemns these desecrations, while defending the constitutional right to freedom of expression. At the same time, it has raised its anti-terrorism alert, admitting that the ostentatious destruction of the Koran “have increased the risks for Sweden” and the Swedes.

But it does not intend for the moment to undertake reforms which would allow it to prohibit the burning of religious texts. One solution, nevertheless noted the Prime Minister, would be to give more importance to security aspects when requests for assembly are examined by the police.

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