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Yemeni protesters burn Swedish flag in Sana'a after state-authorized Qur’an desecrations

Yemeni protesters burn the Swedish flag in the capital of Sana’a on August 3, 2023. (Photo by Yemeni media)

Yemeni protesters have set the Swedish flag on fire in condemnation of the recurring acts of desecration of the Holy Qur’an in the Nordic country.

The protest was organized by Yemen’s Office of Youth and Sports in the capital Sana’a on Thursday under the slogan, “The Qur’an is a crown above our heads and a light in our hearts.”

The participants denounced the Swedish authorities' permission for extremists to burn copies of the holy Muslim book, calling for the perpetrators of the crime to be punished.

The Yemeni protesters also called on the international community to take a firm stand against countries that allow insults to Islam and religious sanctities.

Abdullah Obeid, director of the Youth and Sports Office, attended the gathering and condemned the sacrilegious act, calling on Muslim countries to cut relations with Sweden and Denmark.

“We are the people of faith and wisdom, and it is our religious duty to stand firm against this heinous crime,” Obeid said.

“It is Yemeni wisdom that we stand at the forefront of the ranks to call for decisions by the governments of Arab and Islamic countries to sever relations with Sweden and Denmark, and to hold accountable the perpetrators of the crime of burning the Holy Qur’an,” he added.

Obeid underlined that allowing such anti-Islam actions under the pretext of freedom of expression is “unacceptable,” and a provocation to the feelings of Muslims across the world.

Obeid also praised the position of the leader of Yemen's popular Ansarullah resistance movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, on the blasphemous acts and the boycott of Swedish and Danish products.

Under police protection on Thursday, the members of “Danske Patrioter” — a Danish far-right and anti-Islam extremist group — continued the widely-condemned act of Qur'an desecration for the fourth consecutive day in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen.

The ultranationalist group burned the holy Muslim book in front of the Turkish, Iraqi, Egyptian, Saudi Arabian, and Iranian embassies as it chanted slogans against Islam.

The extremist group also live-streamed the sacrilegious act on its Facebook account.

Earlier in the day, a 47-year-old Swedish woman desecrated the Holy Qur’an in Bromma, in the western part of Stockholm, under full protection of the Swedish police.

On Monday, two Sweden-based met set copies of the Holy Qur'an alight outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm after the police had granted the permit.

One of the menhead has carried out the same actions twice before in the past 40 days, outside Stockholm’s main mosque and later outside Iraq’s embassy.

‘Banning Qur’an desecration not to limit freedom of expression’

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday that banning the desecration of holy religious books, such as the Qur’an, would not restrict freedom of expression.

Frederiksen made the comment in an interview with the Danish weekly newspaper Weekendavisen after the Danish government announced in a statement that Denmark would explore the possibility of intervening in situations where other countries, cultures and religions are demeaned.

“Denmark has condemned the recent Qur’an burnings and is exploring the possibility of intervening in special situations within Danish freedom of expression,” Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said in a post on the X social media platform.

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

The sacrilegious acts have ignited the ire of the entire Muslim community across the globe. Several countries have summoned or expelled Swedish and Danish ambassadors.

The Nordic countries have deplored the desecration of the Qur’an but claimed that they cannot prevent it under constitutional laws protecting freedom of speech.

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