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Worldwide condemnations pour in over Quran burning in Sweden

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.”

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.

"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."

‘Shameful act’

Egypt's Al-Azhar Al-Sharif, the highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning, also decried the Quran burning as a "shameful act" and a violation of “all international laws and covenants that stipulate the necessity of respecting the sanctities of peoples, their beliefs and their religions."

It called for drawing up international legislation “to ensure the necessary guarantees to protect the rights of Muslims to practice their religious rites in the societies where they live."

The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) called on the Muslim countries to summon the Swedish ambassadors to demand an apology from the Swedish government over the incident.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan also condemned the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran in Sweden.

"We call on the Swedish government to bring the perpetrators of this hate crime to justice as soon as possible," the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Ersin Tatar also condemned the act in a written statement, saying: "Such outdated approaches are a threat to all humanity and they threaten world peace."

Meanwhile, protests were held in northern Syria against the burning of the Holy Quran.

Thousands of people took to the streets in B'zaah, Al-Rai and Marea towns in northern Syria, condemning the hateful act.

The Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC), which operates as the umbrella organization of nearly 155 Turkish associations in the US, also decried the attack.

"Burning a faith's holy book does nothing but incite society to hatred, violence, and conflict," TASC Co-Chair Melih Bektas said in a statement.

Turkish minority organizations in Western Thrace also slammed the attack on the Quran.

The Party of Friendship, Equality and Peace strongly condemned the heinous act against the Quran in a statement published on its social media account.

“It is unacceptable for the Swedish authorities to consider the attack on the Qur'an as freedom of thought,” the mufti (Muslim cleric) of the Turkish minority in the Western Thrace city of Iskece said in a statement.

In a statement, Iskece Turkish Union said: "We strongly condemn this incident. We are concerned that allowing this attack on the holy book of Islam will further increase the Islamophobia that has deepened in Europe in recent years."

* Writing by Ahmed Asmar and contributed by SM Najmus Sakib from Dhaka and Zehra Nur Duz from Ankara

Source: Anadolu Agency