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Denmark adopts bill prohibiting desecration of Qur'an in public places

An Iraqi demonstrator holds the Qur'an during a protest in Baghdad against the burning of a copy of the holy book in Europe, July 22, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Denmark’s parliament has passed a bill that makes it illegal to burn copies of the Holy Qur'an in public places.

A stream of sacrilege targeting the Muslim holy book sparked anger in the Muslim community in the summer.

The bill passed on Thursday prohibits “inappropriate treatment of writings with significant religious importance for a recognized religious community.”

It was passed with 94 votes in favor and 77 opposed in the 179-seat parliament.

Burning, tearing, or defiling religious texts in public could land people with a fine or up to two years behind bars. Destroying a holy text on video and disseminating the footage online could also put offenders in jail.  

“We must protect the security of Denmark and Danes,” Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said.

“That is why it is important that we now get better protection against the systemic desecration's we have seen for a long time.”

Before the law takes effect, Queen Margrethe needs to formally sign the bill.

The bill, initially announced in late August, was amended after criticism that its first draft limited freedom of expression and would be difficult to enforce. It was originally planned to cover objects of significant religious importance.

According to figures by the Danish police, 483 book or flag burning were reported from July 21 to October 24 in Denmark.

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