Following the harrowing incident of the Holy Quran’s desecration at the hands of Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line), the Muslim world has been condemning the act of Islamophobia and extreme blasphemy.
From Pakistani prime minister Shehbaz Sharif to sports figures to the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) and the Turkish Foreign Ministry, everyone has been criticizing those involved.
The Foreign ministries of Afghanistan and Pakistan have called on Sweden to impose strict measures for the prevention of such acts in the future and to punish the perpetrators. Apart from Pakistan and Afghanistan, several Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Iran, and Jordan urged the Nordic country’s authorities to look into the matter.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry also issued a strong statement suggesting, “Saudi Arabia calls for spreading the values of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence, and rejects hatred and extremism.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif shared on Twitter, “No words are enough to adequately condemn the abhorrable act of desecration of Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden. The grab of the freedom of expression cannot be used to hurt the religious emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. This is unacceptable.”
Former Pakistani cricket team captain Shahid Afridi tweeted, “The #Quran is glorious, the very book that teaches us tolerance towards other religions. Promoting and showcasing of burning the Quran is a shameless act. I strongly condemn and stand against it. Islamophobic acts are not an expression of freedom of speech.”
The Union of Organization of Islamic Cooperation News Agencies (UNA) Sunday strongly condemned the act of desecration stating in a press release, “UNA warns that this provocative action, which is considered a hate crime and has been committed repeatedly by far-right extremists, targets Muslims, insults their sacred values, and serves as a further example of the alarming level reached by Islamophobia, hate, intolerance, and xenophobia.”
Also, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson tweeted, “Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act. I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today.”
Swedish foreign minister, Tobias Billstrom, criticized Paludan’s protest, suggesting, “Sweden has a far-reaching freedom of expression, but it does not imply that the Swedish government, or myself, support the opinions expressed.”
According to media outlets, Paludan was granted permission by the Swedish government to burn the Holy Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm. In retaliation, Ankara canceled Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson’s upcoming visit to Türkiye.
The vile incident occurred at a time when the rising tensions between Turkiye and Sweden are at an all-time high since the former country objected to the latter’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as Sweden needs Turkiye’s backing.