Yemen’s Houthi authorities ban Swedish imports over Koran burning


CAIRO (Reuters) -Yemen’s Houthi movement, which controls the country’s north, has banned Swedish imports in protest against the burning of the Koran in Stockholm, the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV said.

“Yemen is the first Islamic country to ban imports of Swedish goods after its violations and desecration of Muslims’ holiest,” Al Masirah quoted the Houthi trade minister as saying.

The minister described Swedish imports as “limited” but said the decision has a symbolic value and that the ban was the least the Houthis could do. He also called on fellow Islamic countries to follow suit.

A man tore up and burned a Koran outside Stockholm’s central mosque late last month, on the first day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holidays.

The action sparked an outcry in Islamic countries, several of which summoned Swedish envoys to voice their condemnation.

Sweden has said it could not ban the demonstration because of freedom of speech rules. Justice Minister Gunnar Strommer said last week the Swedish government was examining whether it could make setting the Koran or other holy books on fire illegal, as Koran burnings had damaged Sweden’s security.

The Houthis, who ousted the Saudi-backed government from Sanaa in late 2014, are de facto authorities in northern Yemen.

The internationally recognised government is represented by the Political Leadership Council (PLC), formed under Saudi auspices last year.

(Reporting by Hatem Maher and Muhammad Al GebalyEditing by Peter Graff)

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