The End of Democracy in Sweden?

Rasmus Paludan is the founder and leader of the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party in Denmark and Sweden. Despite eleven Swedish court rulings affirming Mr. Paludan’s right to hold a public demonstration in which a Koran is burned, the police authority has denied him a permit in every case. The courts instructed the police to grant the permits, but the police ignored them.

The courts ruled not only that the police actions were illegal, but also that they violated the country’s constitution. So Rasmus Paludan has the right to burn Korans, but that makes no difference: in response to his action Muslims get angry, stone the police, and burn vehicles. Therefore Mr. Paludan’s blasphemy must stop, and hang the constitution!

The following report is from Samhällsnytt. Our Swedish correspondent LN has kindly translated it:

Reports: Police break the law to stop Paludan — on orders from the government

by Mats Dagerlind
May 21, 2023

Despite being convicted on at least ten occasions for stopping the freedom demonstrations of Danish-Swedish lawyer, party leader and Islamic critic Rasmus Paludan in violation of the Swedish constitution, the police continued to deny him a permit and even issued a special interim blasphemy law prohibiting the burning of a single book — the Koran. Whether or not Sweden will remain a democracy is now in question — the Court of Appeals will decide.

Paludan’s Koran burning triggered Muslim intifadas in Sweden of a kind previously associated with the Middle East. 200 police officers were stoned and some 20 police vehicles were stolen and/or set on fire.

The Koran riots last April were uncomfortable proof for the multiculturalist political and media establishment that the integration of non-Western migrants is working even worse than feared and that Islam is not compatible with the fundamental democratic values of the West.

Decides to shoot the messenger

But instead of acknowledging their political failure, they chose to shoot the messenger. Paludan was painted as a right-wing extremist for defending constitutional civil liberties against anti-democratic Muslim forces. The police were pressured by the government and opposition parties to stop Paludan’s progress.

With lies and excuses, the authority denied Paludan a permit to demonstrate in one place after another or sabotaged the demonstrations by moving them at the last minute to hidden parking lots where no one could attend.

Appeals to the courts and gets it right — ten times

Paludan, who is a trained lawyer, took the police actions to court and won at least ten rulings in five different courts, where they unequivocally clarified that the police had violated both ordinary laws and the constitution in rejecting Paludan’s applications for a demonstration permit. But, despite this, the police continued to deny Paludan a permit.

When the burning of Korans took on a further uncomfortable dimension for the political establishment by illustrating Sweden’s kowtowing to Turkey’s Islamist semi-dictator Erdogan in order to secure Sweden’s entry into NATO, the police chose to go one step further and issued a general ban on burning Korans. No other books were included in the ban.

Inside sources testify to political pressure

Sources inside the police now confirm the picture of an authority under pressure from the political establishment backed by the media to break the laws instead of enforcing them, and also for political purposes to silence uncomfortable opposition voices, a function that law enforcement often performs in totalitarian countries.

This is a development that the then-Social Democratic government and its supporting parties warned could become a reality if right-wing conservative supposedly “authoritarian” forces such as the Sweden Democrats gained political influence in Sweden. Instead, it is now clear in black and white that it is the left-liberal parties that have pushed Sweden in an authoritarian direction.

The investigation that reveals this has not been conducted by conservative media actors who might be suspected of having an interest in conveying a negative image of the left-liberal parties’ policy of appeasement towards Islam and authoritarian treatment of their political opponents. Instead, it has been carried out by the left-liberal Dagens Nyheter.

Dialogue police on the side of Paludan and democracy

Fredrik Jonsson works as a so-called dialog police officer. This is an often heavily criticized part of the police’s work, which involves grilling sausages, eating pizza, kicking a ball and dancing with thugs. The activities are justified on the grounds that they strengthen confidence in the police and Swedish society among “vulnerable” immigrant groups. Critics argue that the police instead make themselves a laughingstock and lose all respect among gang-bangers when they try to act as social workers.

Jonsson is not inherently fond of Paludan’s tactic of provoking and angering Muslims to show their true anti-democratic and violent face. But he still considers it serious that people think they have the right to act in the name of good when they restrict civil rights and freedoms in order to silence him.

“Paludan’s personality and his inflammatory style means that he obscures the view. Then you don’t see what this is really about, that Swedish freedom of expression is under threat,” he told DN.

First attempts to stop Paludan under the red-green government

The first authoritarian measures from the government against Paludan were undertaken back in 2020, when the Green Party was still in Rosenbad. They ordered the police to deny Paludan entry to Sweden on the grounds that he was Danish and a threat to society. This was in contrast to the approximately 100,000 non-Western migrants, most of whom had no documentation whatsoever, who were allowed into the country that same year, people who could be hardened criminals or terrorists.

In addition to what many perceived as the strange sifting of mosquitoes and swallowing of camels, that decision, like the bans on demonstrations that would later be issued, turned out to be illegal. With one Danish and one Swedish parent, Paludan has citizenship in both Denmark and Sweden. The government had reluctantly to allow him to enter the country.

In return, the police are instructed to make it as difficult as possible for Paludan to carry out his freedom demonstrations. And after the Koran riots last April, when full-scale riots broke out in six different cities just after rumors of Paludan’s arrival, things more or less came to a halt.

A recognition of the Muslim threat

The police blamed a lack of resources, an inability to protect the public and finally national security for introducing an outright ban on Koran burning. What they did not consider in their haste was that this reference indirectly confirmed what Paludan, Sweden Democrats and other actors critical of Islam have long claimed — that Islam poses a serious threat to Swedish society, so serious that the constitution must be set aside.

Other police officers with whom DN has spoken, but who, unlike Fredrik Jonsson, do not dare to give their names for fear of reprisals from the police management, confirm how they were under pressure from the government and parliamentary parties to neutralize Paludan, even if it meant doing the exact opposite of what the police are supposed to do. Instead of enforcing the laws, they would break them. Instead of protecting democracy, they would muzzle it.

“But it is precisely in situations like this, when pressure is high and political winds are blowing, that we should stick to the law. We didn’t do that,” the informant tells DN.

Misjudged violent Islam in Sweden

The fact that Paludan and other potential Koran-burners were stopped after April last year was due to the Police Authority completely misjudging how deeply rooted violent Islam and Islamism had become in Sweden. The idea that Sweden is about to be Islamized was dismissed as a right-wing conspiracy theory with no basis in reality.

Paludan was granted, albeit reluctantly, a demonstration permit in the six cities where the Koran riots would later break out in full force, even though Paludan was not even there. In the belief that Islam is the religion of peace, the number of police officers needed to maintain order was totally miscalculated.

Koranic riots an embarrassing fiasco for the police

The handling of the riots was also a huge and embarrassing fiasco for the management of the police force. Hundreds of police officers were stoned and forced to lie down on their backs while Muslim thugs commandeered their vehicles, dressed up in police uniforms they found in the cars, drove around, and then set the cars on fire.

But the media held back on criticism of the police, choosing instead to focus the narrative on the allegedly far-right Paludan as the main villain in the drama. When KD [Christian Democrat] leader Ebba Busch dared to say what most ordinary Swedes were thinking — that the more reasonable outcome of the Koran riots would have been two hundred injured Islamists, not two hundred injured police officers — the media gave her a run for her money. The perpetrators of the violence now became even more the victims in the story than before.

At the same time, the police leadership realized that it would not be possible in the future to deploy the resources needed to deal with the Muslim perpetrators of violence because, as in the criticism of Busch, it would be portrayed by the media as police brutality spiced with accusations of racism because the rioters are not ethnic Swedes.

Concerns about fueling Islam-critics and racialization activists

Now under further pressure from the Social Democrat government and representatives of other left-liberal parties, it was decided that the only way not to fuel Islam-critics and avoid George Floyd accusations from racial identity movements such as Black Lives Matter that have established branches in Sweden, was to ensure at all costs that Paludan did not burn any more Korans.

When Paludan applied for a permit to burn a Koran on May Day in Stockholm, according to inside sources that DN has spoken to, the police authority was put under even more pressure from the S-government to deny him a permit. Only the Left would be allowed to march that day.

Previous Social Democrat ministers deny pressure

Former Minister of Justice Morgan Johansson (S) claims in an email to DN that he is not aware of any undue political pressure and denies interfering with the police permit process.

National Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg has kept the lid on and will neither confirm nor deny the claims of his subordinates. The national commander is also maintaining media silence.

General ban on Koran burning without a trial

Paludan is not only denied permission to demonstrate on May Day. It is also a blanket decision that he will not be granted permission to demonstrate anywhere in the country on that day or in connection with it, despite the fact that there are no other applications to consider. Unlike everyone else, Paludan is subject to a personal ban on demonstrations and will be automatically refused any application that comes in, without any review.

Externally, the police say that Paludan is being quarantined because there are too many risks involved in allowing any Koran burning, referring to the mass riots in April. Indirectly, they admit that Muslims in Sweden are so dangerous and violent that the police are no longer able to carry out their mission.

The police acknowledge that they have a lesser capacity for violence than the Islamists.

The police are being criticized for succumbing to the violence and de facto admitting that the state no longer has a monopoly on violence or even a capacity for violence that is stronger than the religious-political extremists and criminals. The authority is also accused of having double standards and acting differently towards Paludan than it would have done if some protesters it viewed more favorably had been subjected to the same thing.

Thomas Bull, Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court, was one of the critics who questioned whether feminists should be subject to a demonstration permit if their demonstrations were violently attacked by Nazis. Bull did not think so and found it unacceptable that peaceful demonstrators should be punished for being attacked by violent people. The lack of equality before the law and the influence of political considerations and pressure on decisions seemed obvious to many.

Thin democratic veneer peeling off

The discussion around this also revealed that basic democratic values were just a thin veneer on many left-liberal thinkers, even at a high level, who did not shy away from saying that they thought it was good if Paludan was treated negatively and deprived of legal and police protection of his rights. Freedom of expression and assembly should only apply to actors who are liked on this side. Paludan could demonstrate without police protection, implicitly being beaten to death in the process, and the problem would be solved, they reasoned.

Instead, Paludan received unexpected support from Ahmed Abdirahman, founder of Järvaveckan, who felt that the police and those who put pressure on the authorities to deprive Paludan of his constitutionally protected rights were wrong. “Everyone has the right to burn Korans, even in vulnerable areas. It is very important not to start slipping away from the legislation, but rather affirm that the same rules apply to everyone,” he said.

The fact that the police had previously granted Paludan permission to burn Korans in “vulnerable” immigrant areas but then refused to do the same in the inner city to protect senior Social Democrats on their red day, puts the authority in additional hot water. Activist immigrant groups argue, with some justification, that it is racist and discriminatory.

Promises to follow the rulings but defies them instead

When Paludan starts appealing the rejections to the courts, the police authorities claim that they should take the rulings as guidance and comply with them. But when the decisions, one after the other, go against the authority, they change their minds and defy the courts. Paludan is still banned from demonstrating despite the fact that it has been legally established as a constitutional violation in at least ten cases by five different courts.

As Justice Thomas Bull has argued, it is only permissible to deny a permit if the organizer of the demonstration disrupts order, not if others who arrive to sabotage the demonstration do so. But the police management turns a deaf ear and pretends not to have seen the court rulings. They continue to justify the refusals in a way that has been legally determined to be illegal.

New pretexts lead to a new backlash in court

Prior to the May Day rejection, the Stockholm police also blamed a lack of resources. But this is not an acceptable reason either, according to the Administrative Court — if the police consider that they do not have sufficient resources locally, they can call in reinforcements from other districts.

Instead, the police try to blame a lack of time, that Paludan did not submit his applications far enough in advance. Once again, the court backtracks, informing the police that there is no deadline for the submission of applications.

Court criticizes police for not complying with previous rulings

They then revert to referring to feared public disorder as a reason to keep Paludan off the streets. That case also went to court, where the police were reprimanded because a previous court had already ruled that the reason was invalid, something that the authority should have known about and complied with.

However, the police continued to play ignorant and denied Paludan the right to hold his demonstrations in several more cases. Several administrative courts are therefore forced to repeat what other courts have already ruled. A source on the inside with whom DN spoke says that the police management thought it could ignore the decisions of the administrative courts, no matter how many and how unanimous they were. They were not high enough legal authorities to be bothered.

Burning the Koran outside the Turkish embassy

Some time passes and suddenly Paludan is given the go-ahead to burn a Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. The country’s semi-dictator Erdogan is already annoyed with Sweden for providing a safe haven for Kurdish terrorists and does not want to ratify any Swedish NATO application.

The burning of the Koran does not make Erdogan feel better; on the contrary, he suggests that it is now impossible for Sweden to get a signature from Turkey on a NATO membership application unless Koran burning is banned. The fact that Kurdish activists were also given permission to hang an Erdogan doll outside the same building made the situation even worse.

Swedish flags burned and imams call for boycott

The burning of the Koran is also attracting international attention, with riots breaking out in several countries where Swedish flags are being burned and imams are calling for a boycott of Sweden. The government, Säpo and the Police Authority are now coordinating their efforts to describe the situation as a threat to national security and are meeting with Erdogan to introduce a de facto law banning the burning of the Koran, at least in the capital.

Several other actors who have expressed interest in burning Korans are also turned down. They too are appealing to the courts. Meanwhile, the blasphemy law, which exclusively prohibits the burning of Korans to appease Muslims in general and Erdogan in particular, has been severely criticized by leading jurists. Once again, it has overstepped its powers and violated both ordinary laws and the constitution.

Pressure also from the new government

According to DN’s inside sources, the police once again acted under heavy pressure from the government, which has now been replaced by a blue and yellow one. Whether the supporting party, the Sweden Democrats, were also aware of and gave the go-ahead to silence criticism of Islam or were kept out of the communication between Rosenbad and the police station is not clear.

Both Minister Tobias Billström (Moderates) and Minister of Justice Gunnar Strömmer, when asked by DN, deny the claim from within the Police Authority about political influence.

Even the eleventh court decision goes against the police

When the decision from the Administrative Court in Stockholm comes in response to the other prospective Koran burners’ appeal, it is another setback for the Police Authority and the government. The ban on Koran burning is not compatible with Swedish law. The police have now lost in court no fewer than eleven times in less than a year in the same type of case.

But according to DN’s source, the police management still does not care about what the courts have said, but is determined or hard-pressed by the government to ensure that no Korans are burned in public. It is now obvious, says the police source, that the authority is no longer trying to clarify the limits of the law — they have been told eleven times — but that it is a matter of deliberately breaking the laws they are tasked with enforcing. Laws that are fundamental to democracy.

Relief when Paludan voluntarily closes down the business

Rosenbad and the police station on Kungsholmen in Stockholm breathe a sigh of relief when Paludan suddenly announces that he does not intend to visit Sweden again and that there will be no new applications for Koran burning. Paludan’s announcement stems from the fact that he does not believe that the police have given him the protection he should be entitled to after being subjected to several death threats and that several people who attacked him have also been convicted in court.

A contributing factor is also that a number of police reports have been filed against Paludan for incitement to racial hatred and other charges, but the police will not even give him protection to appear in court in Sweden. So he remains in Denmark.

The police are not giving up, however, and want to ensure that in the future they have the right to introduce de facto Muslim Sharia-like blasphemy laws at their own discretion, thereby putting other laws, including constitutions, out of play for periods of time decided by the authority itself.

Court of Appeal ruling may determine Sweden’s future as a democracy

The police have appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeal against the eleventh setback ruling that such bans are not permitted. They now hope that the higher court will take a different view than the lower court. The Court of Appeal’s decision in one direction or the other may set a precedent, unless it is appealed and granted leave to appeal by the Supreme Administrative Court.

The Court of Appeal’s decision is expected sometime this spring. It is expected to be decisive for whether Sweden can call itself a liberal democracy in the future or whether it should be downgraded to a lower status.

Paludan: “Not surprised”

Paludan has commented on DN’s revelations saying that he is “not surprised”. He considers the current and previous government’s claims denying that they have exerted any pressure on the police authority to be of low credibility.

In general, Paludan sees the actions of the Swedish police authority in these cases as just one example among many of the harmful feminization of authority that he believes has occurred.

For previous posts about Rasmus Paludan and the burning of Korans, see the Rasmus Paludan Archives.

8 thoughts on “The End of Democracy in Sweden?

  1. I’m surprised that the Swedish courts aren’t more corrupt.

    Here in Canada, they’d at least do something like: sit on the case for quite a while, then declare it moot because the event has already passed – or some other idiotic way of avoiding to deal with it.

  2. “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia [i.e., rabies] in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.” —Winston Churchill, “The River War” (1899)

  3. Put the Koran on the ground and pray a Christian prayer over it while touching it.

  4. They should be provoking the orcs in everyway they can, ringing the church bells at devil worshipping time, spray painting red and black crosses all over their areas and put God bless the Crusades in stickers on every public transport there is including on the doors of their houses of devil worship. It is the little things that make them froth at the mouth.

  5. One small question. We all know how expensive litigation can be, no matter where it is undertaken, so who is funding Paludan?

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