ISLAMABAD: Pakistan condemns the “senseless and deeply offensive act” of desecration of the Holy Quran in Denmark by the same man who committed a similar act in Sweden a few days ago, the Pakistani foreign office said on Saturday.
Rasmus Paludan, a far-right activist who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship, already infuriated the Muslim world by staging a Quran-burning protest in Sweden on January 21. On Friday, Paludan replicated the stunt in front of a mosque as well as the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen and vowed to continue every Friday until Sweden is admitted into NATO.
Sweden and neighboring Finland are seeking to join the military alliance amid the war in Ukraine, in a historic departure from their non-aligned policies. But their accession requires approval from all NATO members, and Turkiye has indicated it will block Sweden’s bid — in part due to Paludan’s initial stunt. Even before that, Ankara was pressing the two countries to crack down on Kurdish militants and other groups it considers terrorists.
“This repetition of the vile act leaves little doubt in the minds of Muslims around the world that freedom of expression is being blatantly abused to spread religious hatred and incitement to violence,” the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement.
“It also calls into question the legal framework behind which the Islamophobes hide and spread hatred with impunity. At a time when there is an increasing need for inter-faith harmony and mutual respect for peaceful coexistence, the international community cannot turn a blind eye to these hate mongers.”
Freedom of expression comes with responsibilities and that it believed that it is the responsibility of the national governments as well as the international community to prevent these “racist and Islampohobic acts,” Islamabad said.
“Pakistan’s concerns are being conveyed to the authorities in Denmark,” the statement read. “We urge them to be mindful of the sentiments of the people of Pakistan and Muslims around the world and take steps to prevent such hateful and Islamophobic acts.”