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Iran sharply condemns desecration of Holy Qur’an in Sweden

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the desecration of Holy Qur’an by a Swedish far-right group during the fasting month of Ramadan, saying the blasphemous act is a clear example of hate mongering and in contravention of speech freedom.

The strong condemnation came on Saturday after the Danish leader of the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party tried to burn a copy of Qur’an in a heavily-populated Muslim area in Sweden.

Rasmus Paludan, accompanied by police, went to an open public space in the southern Swedish city of Linkoping and reportedly placed the Muslim holy book down and tried to set it on fire while ignoring protests from onlookers.

The blasphemous act prompted protesters, around 200 people by local media’s estimate, to clash with the members of the far-right party and Swedish police after their pleas to stop Paludan’s sacrilegious move were conveniently disregarded.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson came out in support of the far-right group’s anti-Muslim move, saying, “In Sweden, people are allowed to express their opinions, whether they are in good or bad taste,” and that it is part of her country’s democracy.

Reacting to the anti-Muslim move, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the country “strongly condemns the burning of the Holy Qur’an by an extremist racist Danish element in the Swedish city of Linkoping, which took place under the pretext of freedom of expression and under the auspices of the Danish police." 

He said the deliberate repetition of the insulting act during the holy month of Ramadan hurt the feelings of Muslims in Sweden and around the world, Khatibzadeh, adding, “This blasphemous act is a clear example of hate mongering and contrary to freedom of expression, and should be condemned by all those who believe in coexistence and dialog among religions.”

He held the Swedish government accountable, urging immediate action from Sweden to severely deal with the perpetrators and take practical measures to prevent the recurrence of such actions.

“The action perpetrated by the insulter and his supporters necessitates, more than before, the unity of Muslims and Islamic countries against the conspiracies of the enemies of Islam,” Khatibzadeh concluded.

Paludan has regularly been at the center of such incidents in recent years. In 2019, he wrapped the holy book in bacon and tossed it in the air.

In September 2020, the racist leader was banned from entering Sweden for two years. Later in October, he was prevented from coming to Germany after he announced plans to hold a provocative rally in Berlin.

Anti-Muslim sentiments have been on the rise across Europe in recent years in the wake of terrorist attacks in the continent, carried out mostly by Daesh sympathizers or the terrorist group's members who returned home following the group’s defeat in Iraq and Syria.

Muslim leaders in Europe and around the world have repeatedly condemned the terrorist attacks.

Moreover, the rise of far-right ideology and the propagation of anti-immigration policies have also exacerbated the status of religious minorities in Europe.

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