RIYADH: The Arab Parliament — the legislative body of the Arab League — on Saturday welcomed the Danish government’s move to make it a crime to desecrate any holy book in Denmark.
Denmark’s center-right government introduced the proposed law following a recent string of public desecrations of the Qur’an by a handful of anti-Islam activists, sparking angry demonstrations in Muslim countries.
Arab Parliament Speaker Adel bin Abdul Rahman Al-Asoumi, in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, expressed his hope that the decision will contribute positively towards reducing the heinous crimes that Denmark recently witnessed by burning copies of the Qur’an.
Al-Asoumi called on Sweden and other European countries to “follow the example of Denmark” in this regard. He also urged the European Parliament to adopt a similar law at the collective level to ensure that religious sanctities and symbols are not offended.
Like Denmark, Sweden has recently seen a surge in unprovoked acts of desecration of the Muslim holy book, notably on June 28, 2023, when an Iraqi refugee tore and set fire to pages of the Qur’an outside the Stockholm Mosque in the Swedish capital.
Subsequent protests in Denmark saw extremists burning copies of the Qur’an outside the embassies of a number of Muslim countries.
Following a backlash against Danish missions abroad, Denmark’s Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard last week announced that the government seeks to extend Denmark’s existing ban on burning foreign flags by also “prohibiting improper treatment of objects of significant religious significance to a religious community.”
“The bill will make it punishable, for example, to burn the Qur’an or the Bible in public. It will only aim at actions in a public place or with the intention of spreading in a wider circle,” Hummelgaard said. He said such acts would be punishable by fines or up to two years in prison.
Hummelgaard told a news conference that the recent protests were “senseless taunts that have no other purpose than to create discord and hatred.”
– with SPA and AP