Muslim nations outrage over Holy Quran desecration


Denmark FM speaks on Quran incidents

ISLAMABAD: Muslim countries across the globe, including Pakistan, have denounced Stockholm’s decision to permit protestors to desecrate the Holy Quran on the grounds of free speech.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have summoned Swedish diplomats to lodge their protest.

The Saudi Arabian foreign ministry said it would hand the Swedish charge d’affaires “a protest note that includes the kingdom’s request to the Swedish authorities to take all immediate and necessary measures to stop these disgraceful acts.”

Iranian authorities have called for nationwide demonstrations to be held after Friday prayers, a state broadcast said.

The separate moves by both Muslim governments, announced in statements late Thursday, came amid heightened tensions between Sweden and Iraq.

In the latest incident on Thursday, protesters in Sweden kicked and partially damaged a book they said was the Quran. They did not burn it as they had threatened to do.

According to Swedish reports, this was planned by Salwan Momika, the 37-year-old Iraqi refugee who originally burned pages of the holy book in front of Stockholm’s central mosque on June 28.

Meanwhile, supporters of the influential Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr stormed and set alight the Swedish embassy in Baghdad.

Iraq expelled Sweden’s ambassador shortly after the demonstration.

MUSLIM LEADERS REACT

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has strongly condemned the latest incident and vowed to launch “a campaign to seek a reversal of the decision of allowing the sacrilege of holy books”.

“The whole world of Islam and Christianity must collectively stop this conspiracy. Satan’s followers are blaspheming the holy book which gave human beings dignity, rights and guidance,” he remarked.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) denounced the incident as “another provocative attack” that could not be justified as freedom of expression.

Turkey’s foreign ministry called on Sweden to take “dissuasive measures to prevent hate crimes against Islam and its billions of followers”.

In Lebanon, pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement leader Hassan Nasrallah called for the expulsion of the Swedish envoy. He also stressed that Lebanon’s ambassador to Sweden should be recalled.

The governments of several Muslim nations, including Iraq, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Morocco issued protests on the incident. Iraq is seeking the Momika’s extradition to face trial in his country of origin.

Read more: Iraqi protestors set Swedish embassy on fire over Quran desecration

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