Høre-topp advises against burning the Koran

WANT A CHANGE: Eirik Lae Solberg (right) advocates stopping the burning of Korans on city land in front of mosques.

The Conservative Party candidate for city council in Oslo advocated preventing the burning of Korans on municipal property during an election rally at a mosque. Now he prefers the city government to find a “suitable place” to burn the Koran.


VG has gained access to audio recordings of city council leader candidate Eirik Lae Solberg (H) campaigning in a mosque. Here he said that he would consider the possibility of preventing the burning of the Koran on municipal land, in front of the mosque.

The meeting took place in early August, at the Central Jamaat-e Ahl-e Sunnat mosque, which is the largest mosque among Muslims in Oslo with a Pakistani background. The mosque has 6,000 members.

– Make sure they can’t

On the recording, Solberg said:

– Then I know, and it makes me very sad, that there is a lot of discrimination. There is a lot of joy. And one of the things that I think is the most provocative, and what is really heinous, heinous action, is when people defame religious texts. When they burned the Koran. Or if they burned the Bible, said Solberg.

– We can’t accept that. I think we need to say more clearly that we don’t want that to happen in our city, he said.

AMPERT: During a demonstration in Kristiansand in 2019, demonstrators reacted when a Koran was burned by activists of the Islamophobic organization Stop the Islamization of Norway (SIAN).

If someone applies to the police for a permit to hold a demonstration on municipal land, the police will usually notify the municipality.

– Then I am a politician who cares about honesty. So if I am elected chairman of the DPRD, it is not something we decide at City Hall. But we can, for example, see if it’s possible to say that if the municipality owns the land outside the mosque, then we have to make sure they can’t do that here, he said.

Solberg also said that he would raise the issue with national politicians.

THE NOISE CAUSED: Right-wing activist Rasmus Paludan burned a Koran near the Turkish embassy in January this year.

In recent years, the burning of the Koran in European countries has generated massive protests, both at the local level and in Middle Eastern countries. Turkey has delayed Sweden’s application to join NATO in response to the Swedish government’s failure to stop the demonstrations.

Last year, worshipers at a mosque in Oslo experienced just that The Koran is burned right outside the door three times a month. Mosques and Muslim leaders have pushed members to stay calm.

– Will facilitate

VG has contacted Solberg and shared his statement regarding whether he would consider the possibility of “confirming that they cannot” burn Korans outside the mosque on municipal grounds.

– It is understood that you want to use the law to prevent the burning of the Koran on city land?

– I don’t recommend that, Solberg told VG.

– If, for example, someone proposes a demonstration that could lead to the burning of the Koran outside the mosque in connection with Friday prayers, then I believe the city government as the owner of the land must arrange for this to happen elsewhere, regardless of the location. less offensive to those they target. Then recommended the place to the police, Solberg said.

After the interview, Lae Solberg clarified that this only applies to demonstrations that plan to burn the Koran.

TALKING HERE: Candidate for city council leader Lae Solberg (H) gave a speech here before Friday prayers in August this year.

Solberg emphasized that he did not want a ban on burning the Koran on city land.

– If I’m not quite right, I apologize. If I give the impression that the City of Oslo can solve this problem alone, I apologize. The Oslo City Government cannot solve this problem alone. We can recommend another place or another time, and then the police have to make a decision within the framework of freedom of expression.

He emphasized that the police must decide where and whether demonstrations can be held.

– So you don’t want to use the rules and laws on the use of municipal property to prevent the burning of the Koran in Oslo?

– No, we will use our role as landowners to facilitate and recommend that such an event be held somewhere less offensive.

– Can point to many suitable places

– I never intended to impose a ban on burning the Koran. Then I was misunderstood. i have shown you just like Conservative leader Erna Solbergthat the police have options to refuse people to burn Korans, for example outside mosques or embassies.

– Should municipalities take responsibility for identifying suitable places for burning Korans?

– The municipality should have a general description of the places and record them to the police who make decisions.

The Municipal Government of Oslo is the owner of large tracts of land in the capital and manages many parcels of land directly or through wholly owned companies and institutions.

– Municipalities can indicate many suitable places that are not directly outside a mosque, synagogue, temple or church. It’s not a matter of several places, but an alternative to recording other than being outside the house of worship during a service or the like, said Solberg.

Only one mosque in Oslo is adjacent to municipal property, according to data from the Mapping Authority. This is the Jamaat-e Ahl-e Sunnat Center mosque in Greenland, which Lae Solberg visited on the occasion of the election campaign. Some of them have public sidewalks outside.

– Have you ever thought of a specific place that is suitable for burning Al-Quran on city grounds?

– No, said Solberg.


Lance Heptinstall

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