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Qur’an desecration: Iran insists Sweden, Denmark must halt ‘cultural barbarism’

Iranian worshippers chant slogans after Friday prayers ceremony in Tehran on July 21, 2023 during a protest against the desecration of the Holy Qur'an in Sweden. (Photo by AP)

Iran's deputy foreign minister has blasted government-sanctioned desecration of the Quran in Sweden and Denmark as "cultural barbarism," demanding from the governments of both EU member nations to prevent such barbaric acts in their respective countries.

“Setting on fire books, thought and ideas does not resemble freedom, but rather spells barbarism in the true sense of the word; and the governments in Sweden and Denmark have the responsibility to prevent such cultural barbarity in their countries,” said Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri-Kani on Sunday.

Pointing to "the tragedy of Qur’an desecration" in several European countries, he further emphasized, "Qur’an burning marks the most extreme insult to the sanctity of Islam’s holy book and resembles the violation of basic and obvious rights of two billion human beings (Muslims)."

He then went on to insist that "the repetition of such crime in Europe, marks the most clear and complete case of human rights violation by those who falsely claim advocacy of human rights."

“Burning of belief [and thoughts] in Europe points to the decline of human growth and progress among the claimants of global development and advancement,” the senior diplomat further underlined during a meeting with a visiting Qatari Foreign Ministry official Muhammed al-Khalifi.

“It is incumbent upon all responsible governments across the globe, particularly the Islamic governments, to forge together all capacities and resources – at individual and community levels – in efforts to seriously counter such cultural barbarity,” Bagheri-Kani then added.

Over the past month, the holy Muslim book has been subject to acts of desecration by extremist elements in three separate incidents in Sweden and Denmark, whose governments have sanctioned and justified such insults as "freedom of expression."

The sacrilege has ignited the ire of the entire Muslim communities across the globe. Several countries have summoned or expelled Swedish and Danish ambassadors.

In a message on Saturday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called for the “severest punishment” for the perpetrator of the desecration in Stockholm.

“Effrontery to the sacred realm of ​​the Holy Qur’an in Sweden is a bitter, conspiratorial and dangerous incident. The severest punishment for the perpetrator of this crime is the consensus view of all Islamic scholars.”

Slamming European double standards

Also on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kan’ani censured certain European countries for double standards on freedom of speech.

In a post on his Twitter account, the Iranian official said, “If burning books means freedom of speech, then the dark ages (the Middle Ages) were the golden era of freedom in Europe.”


Tehran has already summoned the Swedish and Danish ambassadors to convey the Islamic Republic’s vehement protest with regard to the acts of desecration.

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