Source: The Guardian
Sweden’s government has strongly condemned the recent incident of burning a Qur’an outside Stockholm’s main mosque, labeling it as an “Islamophobic” act. The incident happened on June 29, 2023. The foreign ministry released a statement expressing their understanding that such acts committed by individuals during demonstrations in Sweden can be highly offensive to Muslims. They emphasized that these actions do not reflect the views of the Swedish government.
The condemnation from the Swedish government was prompted by a call from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), based in Saudi Arabia. The OIC, which consists of 57 member countries, held a meeting at its headquarters in Jeddah to address the incident. They urged member states to collectively take measures to prevent the recurrence of such desecration of the Qur’an.
Clear Islamophobic Act
In response to the incident, the Swedish foreign ministry stated that burning the Qur’an, or any other holy text, is a deeply offensive and disrespectful act, and it serves as a clear provocation. They firmly asserted that expressions of racism, xenophobia, and intolerance have no place in Sweden or in Europe as a whole.
The Swedish foreign ministry also emphasized that the country upholds the constitutionally protected rights to freedom of assembly, expression, and demonstration. However, authorities opened an investigation into the incident, citing “agitation against an ethnic group,” as Salwan Momika, an Iraqi citizen residing in Sweden, burned pages from the holy book near the mosque. Initially, Monika had been granted a permit by the Swedish police in accordance with free speech protections.
Muslim Worlds Response to This Islamophobic Act
Following the incident, several countries, including Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco, summoned Swedish ambassadors to register their protest against the burning of the Qur’an.
It is important to note that the incident involving Salwan Momika is distinct from another event where a far-right Danish politician, Rasmus Paludan, was protected by Danish policemen as he burned a copy of the Qur’an in front of the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark few months back.