STOCKHOLM, Feb 23 — A Danish man who burned the Quran in a video posted on Facebook will face trial for blasphemy, public prosecutors said yesterday, the country’s first such case in more than 40 years.
“The prosecution considers the circumstances of burning holy books like the Bible and the Quran may imply in some cases a violation of the blasphemy provision,” it said in a statement, without setting a trial date.
The 42-year-old man burned the Quran in his backyard and then published a video of the incident on Facebook in 2015.
He posted to a Facebook group called “Yes to freedom, No to Islam” with the description, “Think of your neighbour, it stinks when it burns”.
“It is our view that the circumstances in this case imply there should be a prosecution,” public prosecutor Jan Reckendorff said in the statement.
This is only the fourth blasphemy trial in Denmark in nearly 80 years.
The first came with the convictions of four people for hanging posters with anti-Semitic writing in 1938.
In 1946, two people were fined for conducting a baptism during a masked ball, and in 1971, two public radio officials were convicted for broadcasting a song about a woman’s sexuality and her refusal of any divine moral figure.
The public prosecutor’s office has dropped 12 cases of alleged blasphemy, including the caricature of the Prophet Muhammad published in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in 2005.
Publishing drawings of the prophet, including by the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, have sparked violent demonstrations in several Muslim countries.
The usual punishment for blasphemy in Denmark is up to four months in prison, but in this case prosecutors said they are seeking only a fine. — AFP