Muslims report Syrian Orthodox church over Nazi reference

The inauguration of Sweden’s first memorial honouring the victims of the 1915 Assyrian genocide has stirred up strong emotions, with the Islamic Culture Association claiming damages, newspaper Dagen reports.

The memorial was erected at a Syrian-Orthodox church in the Stockholm suburb of Hallunda during a ceremony marking the centenary of the 1915 genocide. Two large banners were attached to the walls of the church during the ceremony. One featured an illustration of Adolf Hitler’s idiosyncratic hairstyle and moustache and an illustration of a Turkish fez.

The banner suggested that the Holocaust could have been prevented if the 1915 genocide had been condemned. Some Swedish Muslims found the link between the Ottoman Empire and Nazi Germany offensive.

“Many were annoyed and some have filed police reports,” Orhan Karan, chairman of the Islamic Association that is based in the Stockholm suburb of Bredäng, told Christian newspaper Dagen. “It is clear that they intend to suggest we are like Hitler,” Karan said.

Karan himself has reported the church and is demanding SEK 1 million in damages. He said that passers-by who saw the banners felt offended and that other banners raised on bridges over a nearby highway, urging Turkey to recognise the genocide, also stirred up emotions.

The police confirmed to Dagen that they have received several reports but said they do not intend to launch an investigation into incitement.