Muslims around the world have condemned the burning of a copy of the Quran during a protest in Sweden, describing it as a ‘despicable act’. Turkey, Pakistan, and other Muslim countries said the Swedish government’s decision to allow the protest to take place was ‘unacceptable’.
Türkiye, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia led the Muslim world’s outrage after Sweden allows notorious habitual offender Rasmus Paludan to burn copies of the Holy Quran under the “freedom of expression” guise.
The Muslim world has erupted in anger and alarm after Sweden allowed a far-right racist politician Rasmus Paludan to burn a copy of the Muslim Holy book Quran in front of the Turkish embassy building in Stockholm.
Pakistan Saturday vehemently deplored the ‘abhorrent and Islamophobic’ act of the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden by a hardline Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, stressing that the move hurt the sentiments of 1.5 billion-strong Muslim community across the globe.
Turkey, which had appealed to Sweden to stop the protest, earlier canceled a visit by Swedish Defence Minister Pal Jonson, saying the trip had “lost its meaning and purpose”. It had been hoped that the trip would address Ankara’s objections to the Scandinavian country joining the Nato military alliance. Turkey has so far blocked both Sweden and Finland’s Nato applications.
Turkey wants political concessions, including the deportation of critics of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and of Kurds it says are terrorists.
Turkey is already a Nato member, which means it can block another country from joining. Sweden and Finland both applied to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Rasmus Paludan, a politician from the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party, burnt a copy of the Koran during Saturday afternoon’s protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Muslims regard the Quran as the holy word of God and consider any deliberate damage to or disrespect for it as deeply offensive.
Turkey is a Muslim-majority country. Its foreign ministry issued a statement condemning the act, which it said took place despite “repeated warnings”.
“Allowing this anti-Islamic act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, to take place under the guise of ‘freedom of expression’ is completely unacceptable,” it said.
It added that the Quran burning was another example of the “alarming” extent to which Islamophobia, racism, and discrimination had reached Europe, and called on the Swedish government to take the “necessary measures”.
Sweden’s foreign minister, Tobias Billstrom, said the act was “appalling”.
“Sweden has extensive freedom of expression, but this does not mean that the Swedish government or I support the views expressed,” he wrote on Twitter.
Separate protests for and against Turkey were also held in Stockholm.
After Turkey canceled the Swedish defense minister’s trip, Mr. Jonson tweeted: “Our relations with Turkey are very important to Sweden and we look forward to continuing the dialogue on common security and defense issues at a later date.”
Protesters in Stockholm last week hung an effigy of President Erdogan from a lamppost in what Sweden’s prime minister said was an attempt to sabotage Sweden’s Nato bid.
Mr. Paludan held rallies last year in which he threatened to burn the Koran, sparking riots.