Religion

Man And Woman Arrested For Koran-Burning Videos

| by Michael Doherty

A man and woman in the U.K. have been arrested over videos in which a man burned a copy of the Koran.

In the clip, the man says that he's having trouble starting a fire, then proceeds to rip out pages from a Koran and toss them onto a bonfire, according to Yahoo. The videos were posted to Facebook and YouTube.

"I've been trying to get my poxy fire started for a half-hour wondering what s*** I can get it going with," says the man in the footage. "And then I found this," he adds, holding up the religious book.

"And it worked, all I've got left is the poxy, s***** cover and look, that's on the fire as well," he continues.

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Police in West Mercia are reported to have arrested a 45-year-old man from Worcestershire and a 45-year-old woman from Evesham for posting videos or images likely to cause racial hatred.

"This was a concerning incident and we will be carrying out a thorough investigation," said Superintendent Kevin Purcell, reports Metro. "It is being investigated as a hate crime."

"We have been in contact with our local Muslim community via Councilor Jabba Riaz, deputy mayor for Worcester, who, as always, acts as a critical friend in support of what we do," Purcell added. "If anyone has any concerns about social media posts that potentially incite hate, I would urge them not to share the posts but to report the incident to the police and social media company at the earliest opportunity."

In February, a man in Denmark was charged with blasphemy for burning a Koran and posting a video of it to Facebook. No one had been convicted for blasphemy in Denmark since 1946, The New York Times reports. In the 1946 case, a man dressed as a priest and performed a mock baptism for a doll at a masquerade ball.

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The man charged for burning the Koran in February, who called himself John Salvesen on Facebook, posted a clip of himself burning the Islamic holy book in his backyard to the Facebook group "Yes to Freedom - No to Islam" in December 2015.

Salvesen's Facebook page had a number of posts criticizing Islam, women and refugees. "I hate children," he wrote in one post.

Rasmus Paludan, Salvesen's lawyer, said that the video was "an act of self-defense."

"The Koran contains passages on how Mohammed's followers must kill the infidel, i.e. the Danes," said Paludan. "Therefore, it’s an act of self-defense to burn a book that in such a way incites war and violence."

He also cited a 1997 news show on which a Danish artist burned a Bible.

"Considering that it is legal to burn a Bible in Denmark, I'm surprised then that it would be guilty to burn the Koran," said the lawyer.

Sources: Yahoo, Metro, The New York Times / Photo credit: JouWatch/Flickr

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