The leader of a group against the “Islamization” of Norway was attacked by several men after setting fire to a copy of the Koran during a demonstration. Footage shows police intervening to stop the skirmish.
A demonstration held by Stop Islamization of Norway (SIAN) in the city of Kristiansand turned violent after the group’s leader, Lars Thorsen, defied a police order against burning the holy Muslim book. The rally had been approved by local authorities, but police had warned SIAN against desecrating the Koran, after the group said it planned to do so.
Two copies of the religious text were thrown in a trash can during the rally, while Thorsen set fire to another one. The unsanctioned actions infuriated counter-protesters, who vaulted over a fence and attacked SIAN’s leader.
Video of the altercation shows Thorsen tossing away a burning Koran as an unidentified man charges at him. The man manages to grab Thorsen’s jacket, twisting him around. However, the assailant falls to the ground after attempting to kick the anti-Islam activist. Police then scramble to break up the fight as several other people rush at Thorsen.
Both Thorsen and his attackers were detained by police, according to media reports. In one video clip, Thorsen is led away by police with his hands behind his back, while his initial attacker is wrestled to the ground by a group of cops.
Muslim leaders in Norway announced that they plan to press hate crime charges against SIAN for burning Korans as well as for verbal assault.
Thorsen is no stranger to political controversy. He recently received a 30 day suspended jail sentence and a fine for distributing pamphlets in Oslo that accused Muslims of being “notorious sexual predators” who “rape in epidemic proportions.”