Flying the Isis flag is legal, Sweden declares

Waving the Isis flag 'is not an expression of disrespect towards any ethnic group' because Isis is 'against everyone except those who belong to Isis'

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The Independent Online

Flying the Isis flag in Sweden is not illegal and cannot be considered an incitement to racial hatred, according to a Swedish prosecutor.

A 23-year-old man from Laholm has avoided prosecution after he allegedly posted a picture of himself with the Isis flag as his Facebook profile photo.

The photo was reported to the police in March and the men was investigated for incitement to racial hatred. The man, originally from Syria, denied the charges.

He said he is not a supporter of Isis and claimed the flag has been used as a symbol of Islam for hundreds of years and then abused by Isis, his defence attorney Bjorn Nilsson told the Swedish newspaper Hallandsposten.

Prosecutor Gisela Sjövall took the decision not to prosecute, saying the issue was whether the Isis flag could be considered a hate symbol, in the same way the Nazi swastika could be considered an incitement to racial hatred.

Ms Sjövall said waving an Isis flag could not be considered hate speech, according to Hallandsposten. Incitement to racial hatred was made an offence in Sweden to protect minority groups.

But waving the Isis flag "is not an expression of disrespect towards any ethnic group," she said, because Isis is "against everyone except those who belong to Isis".

Monochrome flags are an ancient tradition in ancient Eastern, Arabic and Islamic tradition. 

The flag is also used by al-Shabab in Somalia and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, among other terror groups.

Boris Johnson on the Isis flag

Boris Johnson previously said the Isis flag should not be banned by law in Britain, because it is a "free country".

Mr Johnson made the comment when he was Mayor of London: “I don’t like people carrying the Isis flag … I think a balance has got to be struck,” he said.

“We live in a free country and I think you’d have to have primary legislation to designate certain bits of iconography as being illegal. It would be quite difficult.”