In Brussels on Tuesday night (October 17), the highest level of terrorist threat was introduced. The authorities took this extreme measure after an intruder armed with a Kalashnikov opened fire on Swedish fans in a crowded street before a Euro 2024 qualifying soccer match between Belgium and Sweden. They had the misfortune of walking around in their national team shirts. Two people were killed and one was wounded. The perpetrator fled.
Now think about it: a man, who was later identified as an Islamic terrorist, was freely moving around with an assault rifle in Brussels, where, by the way, the headquarters of the European Union and NATO are located!
According to preliminary reports, the suspect who carried out the shooting recorded a video about his affiliation with the terrorist group Islamic State* (an organization banned in Russia). His name is Abdeslam, he is 45 years old, lived in Schaerbeek (one of the 19 communes of the Brussels-Capital Region) and was originally from Tunisia.
In the evening, the man, who, as the Belgian police believe, related to the crime (he had the same rifle), was found in one of the capital’s cafes and neutralized. He was wounded in the chest. On the way to the hospital the man died. It is not clear yet whether he was the shooter or just an accomplice.
The soccer match was stopped when the scoreboard showed the result of the first 45 minutes — 1:1. It was never finished. Swedish fans spent about four hours at the King Baudouin stadium, which is five kilometers from the site of the attack. Only then they were allowed to leave it.
In parallel, a text message was sent to all Swedish subscribers in Belgium advising them to «be vigilant and carefully follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities».
The investigation is ongoing. Local cops were quick to advise that the incident was allegedly unrelated to the escalating conflict between Palestine and Israel.
Indeed, the most logical explanation for what happened is the egregious acts of burning the Koran in Sweden. The most high-profile episode was in January, when the Holy Book of Muslims was burned in front of the Turkish Embassy by Danish citizen Rasmus Paludan, a far-right politician who founded the anti-Islamic party Stram Kurs (Hard Line). Let me remind you that the authorities allowed him to hold a protest rally in Stockholm, but did not authorize the burning of the Koran. Paludan ignored the ban. He eventually faced no punishment for his act.
This sparked thousands of protests in Muslim countries. Turkey slowed down the process of Sweden joining NATO. Only then Stockholm began to reject such applications. Incidentally, permits were also requested by Swedish citizens for the demonstrative burning of other holy books — the Bible and the Torah.
In fact, the official Swedish approach was, until recently, as follows: desecration was condemned, but it was noted that such actions did not contravene the country’s laws.
«Freedom of speech is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily acceptable. Burning books that are sacred to many is a deeply disrespectful act. I want to express my sympathy to all Muslims who were offended by what happened in Stockholm», Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson wrote in his social networks, commenting on the actions of Paludan, the vandal pyromancer.
And now the «Swedish dam» has finally burst! Recently, the district court in Linköping in central Sweden convicted a 27-year-old man who burned a Koran of inciting inter-ethnic hatred. It is noteworthy that the guy committed his act back in September 2020. He filmed a video clip near the cathedral showing him burning a Koran wrapped in bacon on a grill. The clip was published on social media.
The court did not focus so much on the fact of burning as on the musical accompaniment. The act took place to the song «Remove Kebab».
It originally appeared during the Balkan crisis of the 1990s under the title «Karadzic, lead your Serbs». The refrain was taken up by extreme right-wing groups in other countries as a call for an anti-Islamic purge. The words were written on one of the guns of Brenton Tarrant, who carried out the 2019 mosque shooting in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. The victims of the mass murder were 51 people. Many were injured.
As for the 27-year-old Swedish man who burned a Koran, the court found him guilty and sentenced him…to probation. If it wasn’t for «Remove Kebab», he would have been acquitted. After all, the action of the “clipmaker” did not contradict the Swedish (the most democratic!) law on freedom of speech and expression.
… The East is a delicate matter, as Comrade Sukhov used to say. How much more trouble will the Swedish authorities have to go through before they realize: «Don’t touch Islam with your hands!» Swedish laws do not affect here. And in the long run, these offenses can still blow back at the Swedes many times over.