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Iran FM: Freedom of expression no excuse for insulting Muslims’ sanctities

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) shakes hands with President of Serbia's National Assembly Vladimir Orlic, in Tehran, on July 24, 2023. (Photo by Iranian Foreign Ministry)

Iran's foreign minister has once again denounced the desecration of the Holy Qur'an in some European countries under the pretext of freedom of expression, which led to huge protest rallies across the Muslim world.

Speaking in a meeting with President of Serbia's National Assembly Vladimir Orlić in Tehran on Monday, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the desecration of the Qur'an in Sweden and Denmark has hurt the sentiments of two billion Muslims across the world, adding, “We condemn any insult to divine books.”

“We believe that freedom of expression must not be used as an excuse to insult sanctities of Muslims and followers of divine religions,” Iran's top diplomat said.

Over the past month, the Holy Qur’an has been subject to acts of desecration by extremist elements in separate incidents in Sweden and Denmark, which were perpetrated under the aegis of those countries' governments.

The sacrilegious moves have drawn the ire of the whole Muslim world, prompting the summoning or expulsion of Swedish and Danish envoys from several Muslim countries.

In yet another affront to Islam on Monday, two members of an Islamophobic and far-right nationalist group called Danish Patriots desecrated a copy of the Holy Qur’an in front of the Iraqi embassy in the Nordic country’s capital city of Copenhagen and live-streamed the sacrilegious act on Facebook.

The extremist Danish group perpetrated a similar act of desecration last week, which was met with strong condemnation from the Iraqi nation and the Muslim community.

Earlier this week, Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi refugee living in Sweden, desecrated the Holy Qur’an, just weeks after he set fire to pages of the holy book outside Stockholm's biggest mosque.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian foreign minister described as positive further expansion of Tehran-Belgrade relations in political, economic and cultural fields.

Amir-Abdollahian expressed hope that both sides would continue to exchange delegations in a bid to promote bilateral cooperation.

The Serbian official, for his part, hailed Iran's support for his country's territorial integrity and national sovereignty, saying that Belgrade is determined to boost all-out ties with Tehran.

Orlić arrived in Tehran on Sunday at the head of a high-ranking delegation. He has already held separate meetings with Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi and Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf.

Serbia, as the most important political partner of Iran in the Balkans, is the only country in that region, which has not followed the European Union's sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

The two countries are bent on further increasing their trade volume in 2023, with their officials saying that efforts are underway to promote trade exchanges between the two sides' private sectors.

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