Qur’an burning in Sweden condemned by Muslim world
ANKARA (AA): Criticizing Sweden for giving a permit for a planned burning of the Qur’an, Turkey’s foreign minister on Saturday said racism and hate crimes do not count as freedom of thought. The leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line) on Saturday burnt a copy of the Holy Qur’an in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Various Muslim countries have condemned Sweden for allowing the burning of the Qur’an in the country.
“Despite all our warnings, such permission was unfortunately given to this person. No one can call this freedom of expression and freedom of thought,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in the southern province of Antalya.
Cavusoglu’s remarks came after Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), was given permission to burn the Qur’an on Saturday outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.
Under police protection, Rasmus Paludan burnt a copy of the Muslim holy book near the Turkish Embassy’s building.
“Today, they do not allow the burning of another book but when it comes to the Quran, Islam’s holy book, and hostility to Islam, they immediately call it freedom of expression and freedom of thought,” Cavusoglu said.
According to Swedish law, the decisions of the Council of Europe, and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, hate crimes and racism are not freedom of thought or freedom of expression, he added.
“Because this will create outrage all over the world in the same way. It would be a vile, racist, and hate crime act,” he said.
In response to Sweden’s permission, Ankara has canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s upcoming visit to Turkey.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned Swedish Ambassador to Ankara Staffan Herrstrom, who was told that Turkey “strongly condemns this provocative act, which is clearly a hate crime, that Sweden’s attitude is unacceptable, that Ankara expects the act not to be allowed, and insults to sacred values can not be defended under the guise of democratic rights.”
Calling on Swedish authorities to take necessary measures against the “perpetrators of this hate crime”, the ministry said: “This despicable act is yet another example of the alarming level that Islamophobia and, racist and discriminatory movements have reached in Europe.”
The ministry also urged all countries as well as international organizations to take concrete steps “in solidarity against Islamophobia.”
Ankara has canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s upcoming visit to Turkey in response to Sweden’s permission for a planned burning of the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, near the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.
Other Muslim countries and organisations also condemned Sweden for allowing the burning of the Qur’an.
Kuwait on Saturday condemned the burning of a copy of the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, by a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist in the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
Russian Muslims were “outraged” by the burning of the Qur’an in Sweden, the deputy head of Russia’s Spiritual Board of Russian Muslims said Saturday.
“The Muslims of Russia are immensely outraged by another godless act that occurred in Sweden. The burning of holy scriptures is nothing but Satanism, which is increasingly manifested in Europe, which is rapidly losing its spiritual foundations,” Rushan Abbyasov told the TASS news agency .
He urged Swedish authorities “to categorically respond to this act of Islamophobia” and call to account all those who participated.
Abbyasov noted that the act of Swedish radicals tests to their “mental deficiency and lack of spirituality.”
“Instead of expressing their point of view in a civilized way, they have descended to such a disgusting act, hurting the feelings of all Muslims in the world,” he said.
Pakistan on Saturday condemning the burning of the Holy Quran in Sweden, described it a “senseless and provocative Islamophobic act.”
“This senseless and provocative Islamophobic act hurts the religious sensitivities of over 1.5 billion Muslims around the world,” said a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
Such actions, the statement added, 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. ”
Islamabad urged the international community to show a “common resolve” against Islamophobia, xenophobia, intolerance and injury to violence on the basis of religion or belief, and work together for promoting inter-faith harmony and peaceful coexistence.
“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,” added te statement.
Afghanistan on Sunday added their voices to the growing condemnation of a far-right politician in Sweden for desecrating the Qur’an, calling on Stockholm to take action and prevent such provocative acts in the future.
The Foreign Ministry in the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan also “strongly” condemned the burning and desecration of the Holy Qur’an and urged the Swedish government to punish the perpetrators of this act.
In a statement, the ministry also urged Stockholm not to allow such people to tahke provocative actions against the Islamic religion and Muslims in the future.
Iran on Saturday strongly condemned the burning of the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book, by a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist in Sweden, calling it an attempt to stoke hatred and violence against Muslims.
In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said some European countries under the false pretext of advocating freedom of speech “allow extremist and radical elements to spread hatred against Islamic sanctities and values”.
Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and denounced on Saturday the Swedish authorities’ allowing an extremist to burn a copy of the Holy Qur’an in front of the Turkey’s embassy in Stockholm, according to the Saudi Gazette.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the Kingdom’s firm position that called for the importance to spread the values of dialogue, tolerance and coexistence, in addition to rejecting extremism and hatred.
[Photo: Rally at Taksim Mosque, Turkey, during morning prayer to condemn the burning of the Qur’an in Stockholm, Sweden. Photographer: Oguz Enough/AA]
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