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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Worldwide condemnations pour in over Quran burning in Sweden

Far-right extremist burned copy of Quran, Islam’s holy book, outside Turkish Embassy in Stockholm

Condemnations continued to pour in from across the Arab and Islamic worlds over the burning of a copy of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, by a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.

Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, under the protection of police and with permission from the government, burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia condemned the Swedish authorities for allowing the far-right politician to burn the Quran.

In a statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry affirmed “the kingdom’s firm position calling for the importance of spreading the values of dialogue, tolerance and coexistence, and rejecting hatred and extremism.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry decried the Quran burning as a “disgraceful act.”

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A ministry statement warned that this “disgraceful act provokes the feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world.”

“These extremist practices are inconsistent with the values of respect of others, freedom of belief, human rights and human fundamental freedoms,” it added.

‘Vile attack’

Qatar also denounced in the strongest terms Sweden’s permission to burn the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.

“This heinous incident is an act of incitement and a serious provocation to the feelings of more than two billion Muslims in the world,” the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also condemned the incident and reiterated “its rejection of all practices aimed at destabilizing security and stability in contravention of human and moral values and principles.”

The UAE renewed its call to renounce hate speech and violence and underscored the need to respect religious symbols and avoid inciting hatred by insulting religions.

Oman termed the Quran burning as an “act of provocation to the feelings of Muslims and incitement to violence and hatred, by extremists in Sweden.” It underlined the need for international efforts to consolidate the values of tolerance and coexistence and criminalize all acts that promote the ideology of hatred.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah also condemned the Quran burning, saying the incident “hurts Muslims’ sentiments across the world and marks serious provocation.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned the burning of Islam’s holy book in Stockholm as a “vile attack.”

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the vile attack on our holy book, the Quran, in Sweden today (21 January), despite our repeated warnings earlier,” a ministry statement said.

In response to Sweden’s permission of the incident, Ankara canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s upcoming visit to Türkiye.

‘Senseless act’

Iran also termed the Quran burning as an attempt to stoke hatred and violence against Muslims. Tehran said some European countries under the false pretext of advocating freedom of speech “allow extremist and radical elements to spread hatred against Islamic sanctities and values.”

Jordan joined the chorus of condemnations, stressing “the kingdom’s rejection of this act that fuels hatred.” Amman underlined the necessity to spread the culture of peace and acceptance of the other, adding that “condemning extremism is a collective responsibility.”

Morocco said it was “shocked” by the Swedish permission of the burning of Islam’s holy book.

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“This hateful act, which offends the sensibilities of more than a billion Muslims, can fuel anger and hatred between religions and peoples,” the Moroccan Foreign Ministry warned in a statement.

Pakistan termed the incident as a “senseless and provocative Islamophobic act that hurts the religious sensitivities of over 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.”

Such actions are “not covered under any legitimate expression of the right to freedom of expression or opinion, which carries responsibilities under international human rights law, such as the obligation not to carry out hate speech and incite people to violence,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

In a statement, Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry condemned the “act of insulting the sacred values of the Muslims all over the world in the guise of ‘freedom of expression’.”

The Foreign Ministry of the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan also “strongly” condemned the burning and desecration of the Holy Quran and urged the Swedish government to punish the perpetrators of this act.

In a statement, the ministry also urged Stockholm not to allow such people to take provocative actions against the Islamic religion and Muslims in the future.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also condemned the Quran burning as a provocative action that “targets Muslims, insults their sacred values, and serves as a further example of the alarming level reached by Islamophobia” and asked Sweden to punish those behind a “hate crime.”