Turkey’s foreign ministry has issued a formal complaint following a demonstration in Norway’s southern city of Kristiansand over the weekend, during which an anti-Islamic organization burned a copy of the Koran. “We strongly condemn the disrespect for our holy book,” reads the press release from Turkey.
Turkish officials, citing concern over a rise in discrimination against Muslims, also wrote that they expected “such actions to be prevented and those who are responsible to be brought to justice as soon as possible.”
Police were on hand at the demonstration Saturday by the group called SIAN (Stopp Islamiseringen av Norge) that also was attended by around 500 counter-demonstrators who tried to stop the burning. A brawl broke out among the various demonstrators, that police quickly subdued.
Kristiansand Mayor Harald Furre told state broadcaster NRK that he also condemned SIAN’s demonstration, which began when the elderly anti-Islamist Arne Tumyr threw a copy of the Koran in a garbage can, claiming that police had prohibited its burning. That prompted SIAN leader Lars Thorsen to ignite another copy of the Koran. Thorsen was handcuffed and taken in for questioning, while five others also were arrested for disturbing the peace.