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Respect for religious views ‘obligation, not option,’ says Russian official

A senior Russian official criticized NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday over comments on a recent Quran burning in Sweden, saying that respect for religious views was "an obligation, not an option."

On Stoltenberg's remarks about the burning of the Muslim holy book, that "inappropriate actions are not automatically illegal," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram: "He says this about burning the Quran ... Let me remind you that respect for religious views is an obligation, not an option."

Citing several international documents obliging signatory countries to counteract acts of intolerance and discrimination, Zakharova said: "These documents explicitly state that the right to freedom of expression does not imply the right to make critical or even disparaging statements about any religion or religious practice. Not to mention burning a Book sacred to Muslims."

Rasmus Paludan, an extremist Swedish-Danish politician, burned a copy of the Quran on Saturday outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm with both police protection and permission from the Swedish government.

Claiming that Stoltenberg was not aware of the content of the documents, she said the West "appoints illiterate people to key positions in the European direction," as they are easier to "manage."

She also underlined that the West is "simply obliged to respect the right of hundreds of millions of people to their time-tested sacred things."

Source: Anadolu Agency