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Prime minister: a mosque attack would be despicable

Published fredag 26 december 2014 kl 10.05
A picture taken at 13:24, soon after the fire began, shows how it wreathed the whole tower block in smoke. Photo: Asrin Qasim/Private
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A picture taken at 13:24, soon after the fire began, shows how it wreathed the whole tower block in smoke. Photo: Asrin Qasim/Private
An apartment in Eskilstuna was evacuated after a room used as a mosque was set on fire. Photo: Pontus Stenberg
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An apartment in Eskilstuna was evacuated after a room used as a mosque was set on fire. Photo: Pontus Stenberg

The prime minister and three government ministers have condemned the fire at a mosque in Eskilstuna, which police say was caused by an arson attack.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven says if the police's suspicions are correct, the attack is reprehensible and more must be done to stop attacks against Muslims and places of worship.

“It is a despicable thing to do, and I hope those guilty of it can be arrested,” says Justice Minister Morgan Johansson (Social Democrat) to Swedish Radio News. He adds that the motive is not yet known, but it is hard to think that it can be anything other than hatred against Muslims as a group, and Islam as a religion.

"It is disgusting, it is unacceptable, and society has to intensify the measures we take in this area," says Home Affairs Minister Anders Yngman (Social Democrat) to news agency TT.

Culture Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke (Green Party) says "if the details are correct, then it is a direct attack against religious freedom in our country." She says such freedoms are protected by the constitution.

And the bishop of the local Strangnäs diocese says the tradition protecting places of worship is an ancient Swedish custom. Bishop Hans-Erik Nordin says to news agency TT that the taboo against attacking churches should also apply to mosques and other places of prayer.

The board which distributes state aid to religious groups (SST) says in a report that attacks targeting people because of their religion have increased.

An anti-mosque Facebook page with 68,000 members issued a statement after posting a picture of the burning mosque with the caption "happy holidays". Many members had also praised the mosque attack. The statement says "It hardly helps to burn down a mosque. The one burned in Trollhättan in the 1990s was built again twice as big," and underlined the page's support for only political opposition to mosques in Sweden.

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