Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait strongly condemned the burning of a copy of the Holy Quran in Stockholm on Saturday, calling on Sweden to take action against the act.
On Saturday, Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Stram Kurs or ‘Hard Line’, burnt a copy of the Holy Quran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, causing widespread anger among Muslims worldwide.
As tensions between Ankara and Stockholm rise, especially over the latter’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Sweden needs Turkey’s support to join the military alliance.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year, but their bids must be approved by all 30 NATO member states. As a result, Turkey has called on Sweden to take a clearer stance against terrorists, mainly Kurdish militants and a group it accuses of plotting a coup in 2016.
The Swedish government allowed protests outside its embassy in Stockholm and the Islamophobic act prompted Turkey to cancel a planned visit by the Swedish Defense Minister.
Pakistan’s foreign office condemned the desecration of the Holy Quran on Saturday, calling it an “abhorrent” act.
A senseless and provocative Islamophobic act hurts the religious sensitivities of over 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said.
Islamabad informed the Swedish authorities of its concerns about such actions, saying they do not fall within the definition of “legitimate expression of the right to freedom of expression or opinion”.
It urged them to be mindful of the sentiments of Pakistanis and Muslims around the world and to prevent Islamophobic acts.
The Saudi foreign ministry also condemned the provocative act. “Saudi Arabia calls for spreading dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence, and rejects hatred and extremism,” it said.
The Turkish foreign ministry condemned the “vile attack” on the Holy Quran.
The Turkish foreign ministry also said, that, it was unacceptable to allow this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of freedom of expression.
Paludan’s protest was blasted by Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom as well. “Islamophobic provocations are appalling,” he said. “Sweden has a far-reaching freedom of expression, but that does not imply that the Swedish government or I support the views expressed.”
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