Sunday, January 22, 2023
Web Desk

PM Shehbaz strongly condemns desecration of Holy Quran in Sweden

Freedom of expression can't be used to hurt Muslims' sentiments, says PM Shehbaz Sharif

Web Desk
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/ file
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/ file
  • Pakistan’s concerns conveyed to Swedish authorities: Foreign Office.
  • Turkey calls off Sweden's defence minister's visit as a protest.
  • Saudi Foreign Ministry says they reject "hatred and extremism."

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday strongly condemned the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden by a far-right Danish politician.

Leader of the Danish party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), Rasmus Paludan, burned a copy of the Holy Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.

Multiple Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Turkiye, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have condemned the abhorrent activity.

PM Shehbaz Sharif, took to Twitter to condemn the hurtful act, saying the "garb of freedom of expression can't be used to hurt religious emotions of Muslims".

The Tweet read: "No words are enough to adequately condemn the horrible act of desecration of the Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden. The garb of freedom of expression cannot be used to hurt the religious emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world."

Earlier, Pakistan's Foreign Office also denounced the action, emphasising that it hurt the emotions of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world.

Such actions, the ministry said, 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.

“Islam is a religion of peace, and Muslims, including in Pakistan, believe in respecting all religions. These principles must be supported by all,” the Foreign Office said. The ministry called upon the international community to show a common resolve against Islamophobia, xenophobia, intolerance, and incitement to violence based on 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, it said, urging them to be mindful of the sentiments of Muslims and take steps to prevent Islamophobic acts. Paludan, who also has Swedish citizenship, has held several demonstrations in the past where he has burned the Holy Quran.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “Saudi Arabia calls for spreading the values of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence, and rejects hatred and extremism.”

The move has drawn severe criticism from Türkiye as well, with Ankara calling off a visit by Sweden’s defence minister and mentioning that “it’s a racist action, it’s not about freedom of expression”.

“Permitting this anti-Islam act, which targets Muslims and insults our sacred values, under the guise of ‘freedom of expression’ is completely unacceptable,” said a Turkish foreign ministry statement.

It added that the burning of the Quran was another example of the “alarming” extent to which Islamophobia, racism and discrimination had reached Europe, and it called on the Swedish government to take “necessary measures”.

Paludan’s announcement of a Holy Quran burning “tour” for the holy month of Ramazan sparked riots across Sweden in April last year.