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Regional countries condemn desecration of Holy Qur’an by notorious racist in Stockholm

An extremist burns the Holy Qur’an in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, on January 21, 2023.

Regional countries have vigorously condemned an anti-Islam move by a notorious extremist politician to desecrate a copy of the Holy Qur’an in Sweden’s capital of Stockholm.

Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan among others voiced their anger over the desecration of the Muslims’ holy text.  

The condemnation came after right-wing leader Rasmus Paludan received permission from his country's government to burn the sacred Muslim book in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm on Saturday. The notorious racist was protected by the police while committing the blasphemous act.

Jordan censured the burning of a copy of the Holy Qur'an in Stockholm, stressing the kingdom's rejection of the act that “fuels hatred."

It underscored the necessity to spread the culture of peace and acceptance, saying that "condemning extremism is a collective responsibility."

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah said in statements cited by the state news agency KUNA that the incident "hurts Muslims' sentiments across the world and marks serious provocation.”

He called on the international community "to shoulder responsibility by stopping such unacceptable acts and denouncing all forms of hatred and extremism and bringing the perpetrators to accountability."

Egypt also expressed its strong condemnation of the disgraceful act that provokes the feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world.

Warning of the dangers of the spread of such acts that offend religions and fuel hate speech and violence, Egypt called for “upholding the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence and preventing offense to all religions and their sanctities through such extremist practices that contradict the values of respect for religion.”

The United Arab Emirates said the sacrilegious act was against "all practices aimed at destabilizing security and stability in contravention of human and moral values and principles.”

Qatar also condemned the Swedish authorities' permission to burn the Holy Qur'an and called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to reject hatred and violence.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the vile attack on our holy book, the Qur'an, in Sweden today (21 January), despite our repeated warnings earlier," a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said.

Calling the act "an outright hate crime," the ministry said, "Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of freedom of expression is completely unacceptable."

"This despicable act is yet another example of the alarming level that Islamophobia and, racist and discriminatory movements have reached in Europe."

Also, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, "This senseless and provocative Islamophobic act 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."

"Pakistan’s concerns are being conveyed to the authorities in Sweden. We urge them to be mindful of the sentiments of the people of Pakistan and the Muslims worldwide and take steps to prevent Islamophobic acts," the statement added.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) bloc said the "provocative action... 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 the "hate crime.”

Moreover, Secretary General of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef Falah al-Hajraf censured the Swedish authorities for allowing an extremist to burn the Holy Qur’an in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, which would "inflame and provoke the feelings of Muslims around the world."

In an official statement, Hajraf affirmed the GCC's firm conviction in the importance of spreading the "values of dialogue, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence, and rejecting hatred and extremism," calling on the international community to assume responsibility to stop such unacceptable acts.

Furthermore, the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, in a statement condemned the provocative act, calling on the international community to hold the perpetrators accountable.

“This act is a provocation to the feelings of all Muslims, and a blatant aggression against their faith,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said, adding that the extremist behavior would “spread hatred and incite violence and create a fertile environment for extremism.”

Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement also said in a statement that the “criminal act comes in the context of a long series of disgraceful insults to Muslim sanctities.”

“We call on Islamic governments and religious authorities to denounce this abuse and work to form a global public opinion to prevent the recurrence of these violations,” it added.

In April, Paludan — the Danish leader of Sweden’s far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party — tried to burn a copy of the Qur’an in a heavily-populated Muslim area in southern Sweden.

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 counter-protesters to break into the rally and counter the members of the far-right party.

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