RIYADH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, The Muslim World League, and Egypt’s top Islamic institution all condemned on Friday the desecration of Qur’an in Sweden.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has joined nations across the Arab world in condemning the burning of a copy of the Holy Qur’an in the Swedish capital, Stockholm on Thursday, describing it as an act of desecration.
“The secretary general of the OIC Hissein Brahim Taha condemns in the strongest terms another provocative act of desecration of a copy of the Holy Qur’an that took place in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm,” the organization said in a statement.
Thousands of people in Muslim-majority countries have taken to the streets to protest the act by a protestor on Thursday who said he was promoting free speech, but which many, including in Sweden, have denounced.
Taha was deeply disappointed that the Swedish authorities continued to issue permissions to burn the holy book, it said.
The statement referenced the final communique issued by the OIC Executive Committee at its extraordinary meeting on July 2, which said that such provocations were contrary to the spirit of articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and could not be justified under the right to freedom of expression, which prohibits any incitement to religious hatred and intolerance.
It also referenced the content of the resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on July 12 on “countering religious hatred constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”
Taha stressed the need to comply with international law and urged the Swedish authorities to stop issuing permissions to extremist groups and individuals.
The Muslim World League also condemned the desecration, saying the repeated act was provocative to the feeling of Muslims.
“These acts harm the civilized and logical concept of freedom, which calls for respecting that which is sacred, and refraining from provoking feelings against it under any pretext,” said a statement issued by the Muslim body on Friday.
Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top religious institution, also condemned the burning of the Qur’an and urged Muslims around the world to boycott Swedish products.
“#Al-Azhar strongly condemns the continued desecration of the Qur’an in Sweden: a stain on Sweden,” it said on Twitter.
“Sweden has proven, through its practices, that it is the closest society to racism and the furthest from respecting religions and people. Al-Azhar calls on all free people in the world to continue boycotting Swedish products in support of the Qur’an, the book of God.”
Saudi Arabia on Thursday condemned “the repeated and irresponsible actions of the Swedish authorities by granting some extremists official permits authorizing them to burn and desecrate copies of the Holy Qur’an.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the latest incident as “an act that is a systematic provocation of the feelings of millions of Muslims around the world,” and said it would issue a note of protest to the charge d’affaires of the Swedish Embassy urging Stockholm to take immediate measures to stop these “disgraceful acts, which violate all religious teachings, and international laws and norms.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Twitter he hailed the “UN resolution against Qur’an burning in Sweden” and applauded the UNHRC resolution.
He said it was unfortunate that for “every step against Islamophobia, hatred ignites among those who hide their heinous acts behind the mask of free speech, as demonstrated by the dissenting states.”