Desecration of Holy Quran in Sweden widely slammed

-FO says Pakistan’s concerns conveyed to Swedish authorities
-PM, Imran remind West of limitation to Freedom of Expression
-Turkey calls off Sweden’s Defence Minister’s visit as a protest
-Saudi Foreign Ministry says Riyadh rejects ‘hatred, extremism’
-OIC, Indonesia, others extend strong condemnations to Stockholm

DM Monitoring

ISLAMABAD: The desecration of the Holy Quran in Stockholm, Sweden, which hurt sentiments of over 1.5 billion Muslim population around the World, has been condemned ‘in the strongest terms’ worldwide.
Pakistan while condemning the abhorrent act of desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden, said the “senseless and provocative Islamophobic act hurts the religious sensitivities of over 1.5 billion Muslims around the world”.
“Such actions are not covered under any legitimate expression of the right to freedom of expression or opinion, which carries responsibilities under international human rights law, such as the obligation not to carry out hate speech and incite people to violence,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on Saturday.
“Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims, including in Pakistan, believe in respecting all religions. These principles must be supported by all,” the FO statement added.
Islamabad urged the international community to show a common resolve against Islamophobia, xenophobia, intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief, and work together for promoting inter-faith harmony and peaceful coexistence.
“Pakistan’s concerns are being conveyed to the authorities in Sweden. We urge them to be mindful of the sentiments of the people of Pakistan and the Muslims worldwide and take steps to prevent Islamophobic acts,” the communiqué stated.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Sunday “no words are enough to adequately condemn the abhorrable act of desecration of the Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden”.
“The garb of the freedom of expression cannot be used to hurt the religious emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. This is unacceptable,” he said.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan also condemned the incident as he highlighted the steps his government took against Islamophobia.
“Last March on our government’s initiative, the United Nations General Assembly passed OIC-sponsored landmark resolution on International Day to Combat Islamophobia. It recognised that Islamophobic acts were not an expression of freedom of speech,” he said.
Sweden’s prime minister has also condemned as “deeply disrespectful” the desecration of the Holy Quran in Stockholm, which has raised tensions with Turkey as the Nordic country courts Ankara over its Nato bid.
Furious that Paludan had been permitted by Swedish police to carry out the protest, Ankara cancelled a visit by Sweden’s defence minister and summoned Stockholm’s ambassador.
Late on Saturday, 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,” he said.
Many Muslim countries said they were outraged by the burning of the Holy Quran on Saturday.
Morocco said it was “astonished” the authorities had allowed it to take place “in front of the Swedish forces of order”.
Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Jakarta said “the act of blasphemy against the holy book has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance”, adding that “freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner”.
Dozens of protesters gathered late on Saturday in front of the Swedish consulate in Istanbul, where they burned a Swedish flag and called on Turkey to sever diplomatic ties with Stockholm.
Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist who has already been convicted for racist abuse, provoked rioting in Sweden last year when he went on a tour of the country and publicly burned copies of the Holy Quran.