Hundreds protest in Afghan city of Khost against Quran burning in Sweden

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Hundreds of Afghan men staged a protest in the eastern city of Khost on Tuesday to express anger at the burning of the Quran in the Swedish capital over the weekend.

Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan on Saturday set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book in front of Turkey’s embassy in Stockholm.

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Protests have been held since then in some Muslim countries, and on Tuesday crowds of Afghan men condemned the incident in Khost, a city bordering Pakistan.

“Death to the Swedish government, death to such politicians,” chanted protesters in the city’s main square, an AFP correspondent reported.

Images posted on social media showed the protesters standing in the square, some holding the flag of the Taliban, as security personnel stood guard nearby.

“The people of Khost condemned the burning of the Quran in Sweden and called on Muslim countries to raise their voices against this evil and filthy politician,” Qadeer Lakanwal, a protester and one of the organizers of the rally, told AFP.

Another organizer, Ibrahim Sayar, said such acts “should not be repeated so as not to create hatred in the hearts of Muslims for other religions.”

Afghanistan’s foreign ministry had earlier condemned the burning of the Quran..In a statement released on Sunday, the ministry called on the Swedish government “to punish the perpetrator” and to stop “such vile and provocative anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim acts.”

Demonstrations against Paludan’s burning of the Quran also broke out in Iraq and Pakistan, and Indonesia summoned Sweden’s envoy on Tuesday over the incident.

Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, they have banned protests that are not permitted by the regime, especially those calling for women’s rights to education and work.

In 2020, small anti-France protests were held in some cities of Afghanistan after French President Emmanuel Macron defended the right of a satirical magazine to publish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

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