This time in Sweden, which is leading anti-Islamic policies, once again the Holy Quran was desecrated in the name of the freedom of expression. On Saturday, a far-right hardliner named Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Holy Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
In an anti-Islamic move, the spokesperson of Sweden police said that they allowed the leader of the far-right Danish party Stram Kurs to burn the Holy Quran in the march in front of the Turkish embassy. This criminal action is taking place as in April, a Danish hardliner, under the pretext of freedom of expression and under the protection of the police, set fire to the Muslim's holy book in the city of Linköping, Sweden. The Danish-Swedish Paludan, who is considered a hard-line politician in Sweden, has repeatedly insulted the Holy Quran in the past years, and even earlier in Denmark, he demanded expulsion of Muslims from the country.
Muslim world backlash
The desecration of the Holy Quran has triggered massive outrage across the Muslim world. Criticizing Swedish police for permission to Paludan for Quran burning, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu said that racism and hatred cannot be recognized as freedom of expression.
“They do not allow the burning of another holy book, but when it comes to the Quran and hostility to Islam, they immediately call this issue freedom of expression and freedom of opinion,” said Cavusoglu.
Condemning this action, the leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party Devlet Bahçeli said that Sweden’s membership in NATO will not be ratified by the Turkish parliament under these conditions.
“Betrayal and disrespect to our religion, language, values, and Turkey will definitely have consequences,” he said.
Even the Turkish government canceled a scheduled visit to Ankara of the Swedish defense minister.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanani has strongly condemned the desecration of the Holy Quran, saying: “Unfortunately, some European countries like in the past leave the hands of hardliners and extremist elements open to spread hate against the Islamic sanctities under the false pretense of supporting freedom of expression. They entrench Islamophobia and anti-Islamism in their societies despite their beautiful pro-human rights rhetoric.”
Releasing a statement in condemnation of this Swedish move, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said that this Islamophobic action is hurting sentiments of 2 billions of Muslims around the world.
Kuwait’s foreign minister in a statement said that Quran burning in Sweden hurts the Muslim sentiments and represents a serious provocation. He called on the international community to stop these “unacceptable actions”, condemn all forms of hate crimes and extremism, and make accountable all those behind these actions.
Also, a Saudi foreign ministry statement said that the country is in favor of the expansion of values of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence and rejects hate and extremism.
The UAE, publishing a statement, said that Abu Dhabi opposes any measures taken to harm security and stability in opposition to ethical and human principles.
Qatar was another Muslim country that condemned the move, and called on the international community to take the responsibility for countering hatemongering and violence around the world.
Moreover, Jordan condemned the burning of the Holy Quran and emphasized that such actions incite hatred. The statement issued by the Jordanian government emphasized the necessity of spreading the culture of peace and accepting each other.
“Condemning extremism is a collective responsibility,” said the statement.
The Egyptian government issued a condemnation of the hate crime that “hurt feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world.” Cairo warned of the dangers of spreading such actions that cause insults to religions and fuel hate speech and violence, and called for the preservation of the values of tolerance and peaceful coexistence and prevention of insults to all religions and their sanctities.
Also reacting to the Swedish action, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said that the desecration of the Holy Quran targets the Muslims in Sweden, insults their values, and is just another sign of the alarming levels the Islamophobia has reached in Europe. The organization called on the Swedish government to punish those behind this hate crime.
Cultural terrorism in the name of freedom of expression
Despite wide-ranging global warnings in recent years against Swedish and European desecration of the Holy Quran and other Islamic sanctities, these actions continue under the cover of largely abused and ill-defined freedom of expression. Western leaders argue that under the freedom of expression, everyone should express whatever they want in the form of words and images, and nothing and no one should prevent them. But this freedom, which has more of a political and social sense, has spread to all matters in Western countries, and this is giving an encouraging excuse to hardliners to insult the beliefs and values of hundreds of millions of Muslims.
In Islam, freedom of expression is accepted and the Prophet and the imams cherished it, but Islam at the same time recognizes insult to others especially divine religions as a red line that should be abounded in the society. Therefore, insults to beliefs and sanctities of 2 billion Muslims by some notorious figures should not categorized as freedom of expression.
Though Swedish and other European countries’ officials claim that they do not advocate sacrilege to other religions, they practically propagate Islamophobia and anti-Islamism by leaving hands of such hardliners open to burn the holy book of Islam, and this encourages others to do the same crimes without the fear of being punished.
The European leaders who are mainly themselves to blame for creation of terrorist groups in West Asia and elsewhere paint the crimes of terrorists in Syria and Iraq as a general feature of Muslims to imply that Islam is the religion of war and bloodshed and alien to peace. This European policy explains why in recent years Islamophobia has increased across Europe in the form of assaults on mosques, Quran burning, and blasphemy against the Prophet.
The West claims advocacy for freedom of expression while in this
specific case it applies double standards. When it comes anti-Islamic
sacrilege, Europeans justify it under freedom of expression, but if
somebody questions the credibility of the Holocaust, they would be
severely dealt with and criminalized, and in this area, freedom of
expression makes no sense to Europe.