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 Muslim jihad sympathizer from Laholm has avoided prosecution after he 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 Muslim was investigated for incitement to racial hatred. The jihadist, 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.

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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.

 

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