LONDON: The desecration of the Holy Qur’an is a crime and will be penalized in Russia, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
During a visit to Derbent in the Muslim-majority Dagestan Autonomous Republic, Putin said despite other countries failing to respect the sanctity of the Qur’an, it would always be respected in Russia.
“In our country, this is a crime both according to the Constitution and the penal code,” he said as he received a copy of the holy book during a visit to the historic mosque of Derbent, where he met Muslim representatives from Dagestan.
“The Qur’an is sacred for Muslims and should be sacred for others,” he said as he thanked the representatives for the gift. “We will always abide by these rules.”
Putin’s comments came as a man tore up and burned a copy of the Qur’an outside Stockholm’s central mosque on Wednesday, drawing widespread condemnation from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations.
“These hateful and repeated acts cannot be accepted with any justification, and they clearly incite hatred, exclusion and racism, and directly contradict international efforts seeking to spread the values of tolerance, moderation and rejection of extremism, and undermine the necessary mutual respect for relations between peoples and states,” a Saudi foregin ministry statement said.
Swedish police later charged the man with agitation against an ethnic or national group.