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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 12 November 2018

Sweden suffers third mosque arson attack in a week

The attacks come as debate intensifies in the country over immigration and the integration of asylum seekers in the traditionally tolerant Nordic country.
Police officers investigate a suspected arson attack after a fire in a mosque in the southern Swedish town of Eslov on December 29, 2014. Drago Prvulovic/AFP Photo
Police officers investigate a suspected arson attack after a fire in a mosque in the southern Swedish town of Eslov on December 29, 2014. Drago Prvulovic/AFP Photo

STOCKHOLM // Sweden was hit by a third arson attack on a mosque in a week on Thursday.

Police were hunting for at least one suspect after he was seen throwing a burning object at the mosque in Uppsala, in eastern Sweden.

“Someone threw a firebomb, a Molotov cocktail at the building,” Torsten Hemlin a spokesman for Uppsala policesaid, adding that the bomb did not set the mosque in eastern Sweden alight.

“They also wrote some vulgar racist words,” he said. No one was in the building at the time of the attack.

Police in Uppsala, Sweden’s fourth largest city, were alerted by passers-by who reportedly saw a man throw a burning object at the mosque at 3.30am local time.

“The crime has been classed as attempted arson, vandalism and incitement to hatred,” the police said, appealing for eyewitnesses to come forward.

Thursday’s attack came just three days after a late night blaze at a mosque in Esloev in southern Sweden which police suspect was also arson.

On Christmas Day, five people were injured when a petrol bomb was thrown through the window of a mosque in Eskilstuna, east of the capital Stockholm.

The country’s leftist prime minister Stefan Loefven called the Christmas attack a spurt of “hateful violence” and said Sweden would “never tolerate this kind of crime”.

According to the anti-racism magazine Expo, there have been more than a dozen attacks on mosques in Sweden in the last year.

The attacks come as debate intensifies in the country over immigration and the integration of asylum seekers in the traditionally tolerant Nordic country.

Last month the far right Sweden Democrats – which doubled its support to 13 per cent in September elections – came close to bringing down the left-green government over its liberal refugee policies, further boosting its support in opinion polls.

* Agence France-Presse