Wednesday, April 24, 2024

UN body condemns right wing leader‘s Quran burning in Sweden

The high representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has condemned the burning of the holy Quran by a Swedish-Danish far-right politician as a “vile act”.

The Quran burning was carried out by Rasmus Paludan, leader of Danish far-right political party Hard Line. Surrounded by police, Paludan set fire to the holy book with a lighter following a long diatribe of almost an hour, in which he attacked Islam and immigration in Sweden. About 100 people gathered nearby for a peaceful counterdemonstration.

Several Arab countries – including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait – also denounced the Quran-burning.

“Saudi Arabia calls for spreading the values of dialogue, tolerance, and coexistence, and rejects hatred and extremism,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.

“While the High Representative stresses the importance of upholding the freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, he also emphasises that the act of Quran-burning, amounts to an expression of hatred towards Muslims,” a spokesperson for Miguel Angel Moratinos said in a statement released on Sunday.

Moratinos, who heads a UN agency said he was concerned about the rise in “discrimination, intolerance and violence … directed against members of many religious and other communities in various parts of the world”.

Shortly after Paludan burned a copy of the Quran, Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, condemned Swedish authorities for failing to ban the protest.

“It’s a racist action. It’s not about freedom of expression,” he said.

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