Claim: A video shows a man burning what is claimed to be the Quran in a street in Sweden in January 2023 before another man punches and kicks him.

Fact: The clip is not from Sweden, nor is it recent. It shows a man blowtorching the Quran in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2021.

On 23 January 2023, Twitter user @Abidhus45944312 posted a video (archive) showing a man blowtorching a book — claimed to be the Quran — before a passerby intervenes and tries to put out the flames; in the meantime, a masked man punches the first one and kicks him in the side.

The caption accompanying the clip posted by @Abidhus45944312 is as follows:

“کل سویڈن میں احتجاج کے دوران قرآن پاک کو نذرِ آتش کئے جانے کی شدید ترین الفاظ میں مذمت کرتے ہیں، ہم مسلمان ہوکر خاموش ہیں دنیا بھر میں احتاج ہو رہے ہیں پر ہم چپ کیون ہیں؟؟😢 سلام ان بھادر مسلمانوں پر جنہوں نے مونھ توڑ دیا اس یہودی کافر ملعون کا۔۔
[We condemn in the strongest terms the burning of the Holy Quran during the protest in Sweden yesterday. We are silent as Muslims but there are protests taking place around the world. But why are we silent?😢 Salute to those brave Muslims who broke the mouth of this accursed infidel Jew.]”

Sweden has faced condemnations from Muslim countries for permitting a Danish activist Rasmus Paludan to go ahead with his plan to burn Islam’s holy book (archive) outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on 21 January 2023. The country also faces a consequent risk to its bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reverse-searched some keyframes from the video and found the original clip in a 3 March 2021 article by Yeni Akit Gazetesi titled, “Kur’an-ı Kerim’e yapılan alçak saldırı karşılıksız kalmadı [The vile attack on the Qur’an did not go unanswered],” (archive).

To further verify this, we looked up the image on Google Lens and Yandex Reverse Image Search and came across various links and posts referring to the incident taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A 3 March 2021 tweet by @tqriir (archive) mentions the burning of the “Quran in the middle of a street in the Danish capital, Copenhagen”. A 12 March 2021 tweet by @serapcnk (archive) connects the incident to Stram Kurs — a far-right political party in Denmark alternatively known as ‘Hard Line’ — and claims it is an “obscene fascist organization that satisfies its ego by constantly burning the Quran in Denmark”.

We also found the video with similar descriptions on Turkish and Russian social media platforms.

‘История «0»’, an account on the Russian social network VKontakte, commonly known as VK, wrote in its 4 March 2021 post (archive), “In Denmark, an Islamophobe decided to publicly burn the Koran and record his “feat” on video.”

‘Sinan Yılancıoğlu🇹🇷’, an account on the Russian social network Yaay, wrote in its 2 March 2021 post (archive), “Two Muslim men kindly intervened against the Danish Enemy of Islam who tried to burn the Quran”, alongside the hashtags “#Denmark” and “#Islamophobia”.

With the help of Reuters, which is also a signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), we were able to also locate a live-stream of the incident from Denmark posted from Facebook page ‘Stram Kurs Lolland’.


Soch Fact Check found a tweet by journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem (archive), who wrote: “Some Muslims step to a man burning the Quran in Sweden.  Hmmm…FREEDOM OF SPEECH can also mean FREEDOM TO GET YOUR BUTT KICKED if you step out of line.”

The tweet was viewed 2.1 million times and received over 1,100 comments, 13,600 retweets, and 33,800 likes.

A post by Facebook page ‘Developing Pakistan’ (archive) reads: “Some #Muslims step to a man burning the Quran in #Sweden. There is big difference between ‘Freedom of Speech’ & ‘Freedom of Hate’, burning the holy #Quran of #Islam or any other Religion’s book/place is highly condemnable act and should be Punishable also labeled as Crimes of Hate.”

The post was shared more than two dozen times.

More Facebook posts can be here, here, and here.

Conclusion: The clip is not from Sweden nor recent. It shows a man blowtorching the Quran in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2021.

Background image in cover photo: Anis Coquelet

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