The Guardian (USA)

Danish-Swedish far-right leader denied entry to UK to burn Qur’an

- Nadeem Badshah

A far-right Danish-Swedish politician who threatened to burn a copy of the Qur’an during a visit to Yorkshire has been barred from entering the UK, the security minister has announced.

Tom Tugendhat said Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Stram Kurs party founded in 2017, has been added to the “warnings index” and “will not be allowed access” to the country.

Paludan has held several protests in which the Islamic holy book was burned, some of which have led to violent counter-protests.

In a Twitter video on Sunday, he said that he plans to burn a copy of the Qur’an in a public square in Wakefield

this week to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan.

Speaking in the Commons during Home Office questions, the Labour MP Simon Lightwood raised concerns over the potential visit and protest.

The West Yorkshire city’s MP said: “Rasmus Paludan said he is going to travel from Denmark to Wakefield for the sole purpose of burning a Qur’an in a public place.

“Mr Paludan was previously jailed in Denmark for his hateful and racist statements. He is a dangerous man that should not be allowed into this country. Can the home secretary assure me and my community that the government is taking action to prevent this?”

Tugendhat replied: “Mr Paludan has been added to the warnings index and therefore his travel to the United Kingdom would not be conducive with the public good and he will not be allowed access.”

In January Paludan burned a copy of the Qur’an outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, which escalated into a diplomatic row between Turkey and Sweden with the former now holding up the Scandinavi­an country’s applicatio­n to join Nato.

Earlier this month, police said they spoke to a pupil who sent death threats to a boy after he caused minor damage to a copy of the Qur’an in Wakefield.

A Year 10 student took the Islamic text to Kettlethor­pe high school on 23 February, reportedly as part of a dare, and its cover was slightly torn while smears of dirt were found on some pages.

The boy’s mother, who said he is 14 and has “high functionin­g autism”, said he received “death threats” over the incident.

West Yorkshire police said an officer

gave “words of advice” to one student who sent “malicious communicat­ions” to the boy.

The force added it initially treated the damage done to the Qur’an as a “hate incident”, but officers are now satisfied that “no criminal offences were committed” in relation to the book.

The school said it suspended four students over the incident.

 ?? Photograph: Fredrik Sandberg /TT/EPA ?? Rasmus Paludan, leader of the far-right Danish political party Stram Kurs, holding a copy of the Qur’an.
Photograph: Fredrik Sandberg /TT/EPA Rasmus Paludan, leader of the far-right Danish political party Stram Kurs, holding a copy of the Qur’an.

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