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Muslim World condemns ‘Islamophobic’ Quran burning! By Kashif Mirza


Jul 7, 2023

The writer is an

economist, anchor,

analyst and the

President of all

 Pakistan Private

Schools’ Federation



The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold an urgent meeting on the burning of a Quran outside a mosque in Sweden, following a request from Pakistan. The desecration of the Quran took place outside the Swedish capital Stockholm’s main mosque on Eid and was carried out by a man during a protest authorized by the police. Sweden has been widely condemned for allowing the burning of the Muslim Holy Book outside a mosque on Eid al-Adha. The timing of the burning of Islam’s holy book, during the important Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, further angered and pained Muslims in many countries, who were celebrating the holiday, which honors the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. The Pakistan federal government observed Yaum-e-Taqaddus-e-Quran and held nationwide protests against the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden. The decision was made after a resolution passed in the Parliament of Pakistan and during a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The reason: to uphold the sanctity of the Holy Quran and to protest against the recent incident of its desecration in Sweden. Pakistan demanded immediate action against the perpetrator of the incident in Sweden, and the Swedish government take notice of the Islamophobic and hateful narrative against the Muslim population in their country. Sweden is condemned in the Muslim World for allowing the burning of the Quran. The burning of the Quran in Stockholm on EID followed a similar incident in January in which a far-right Danish-Swedish figure burned a copy of the holy book outside the Turkish Embassy in the Swedish capital, which also exacerbated tensions with Turkey. In Iraq, several hundred people protested outside the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad to break off diplomatic relations with Sweden. Iraq’s foreign ministry also condemned Sweden for allowing an extremist to burn a copy of the holy Quran. Morocco and Iran summoned Sweden’s representative in Rabat to ask him to condemn the act and recalled its own ambassadors in Sweden. Jordan also said it had expressed its displeasure to Sweden’s ambassador, according to the state news agency, calling it a racist act of serious hate. Egypt called the burning of the Quran a disgraceful act and Saudi Arabia said that such hateful and repeated acts cannot be accepted with any justification. Malaysia’s foreign minister said the desecration of a holy book while Muslims celebrated such an important holiday was offensive to Muslims worldwide. And President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said that the country would never bow to the politics of provocation, in a reference to the incident in Sweden. His condemnation came as diplomatic ties are already strained between Turkey and Sweden, with the Turkish government holding up a Swedish bid to join NATO. Turkey wants Sweden to take a tougher line on pro-Kurdish activists and members of an outlawed religious group whom it considers terrorists living in Sweden.

Muslim world must teach the arrogant Western people that it is not freedom of expression to insult the sacred values of Muslims. Expressions of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance must not have any place in Sweden or in Europe.

Insulting things that were sacred to Muslims, was not freedom of expression. A Swedish court in April overturned the police’s decision, saying that the police did not have sufficient evidence to ban the protests. The Quran burning in Stockholm was particularly troubling to many Iraqis because it was widely reported that it was carried out by an Iraqi immigrant, Monika. There are more than 140,000 Iraqi-born immigrants in Sweden, the second largest immigrant group in the country after Swedish Finns. The unanimous adoption of the United Nations resolution that declared March 15 the “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” is a major success in the global recognition of Islamophobia as an existing and pervasive problem. This resolution holds the potential to be used by civil society and politicians who have been fighting Islamophobia in the past to put pressure on nation-states that have, on the one hand, promoted Islamophobia and make them accountable for their actions, and, on the other, pressure such states to take concrete action against Islamophobia. The beginning of the war in Ukraine seems to have overshadowed other domestic issues including Islamophobia to varying degrees, while in Russia, civil society activists and journalists expressing dissent have been subjected to criminal prosecution with the help of the Law on Non-commercial Organisations, the Fake News Law, and the Law on Military Censorship. The persecution of members of various Islamic groups and the further inclusion of Islamic books such as an abridged version of Sahih al-Bukhari on the list of extremist materials has continued. The Russian War of Ukraine has uncovered the stereotypical perspective of many Europeans vis-à-vis different kinds of refugees, welcoming white, Christian (female) Ukrainians as opposed to the often violent resistance and rejection of Muslim refugees. In regards to institutionalized Islamophobia, the Austrian Integration Minister Susanne Raab (ÖVP) organized the second iteration of the “Vienna Forum on Countering Segregation and Extremism in the Context of Integration” to export her battle against so-called “political Islam” to other European countries. A total of eleven countries are said to have participated in the forum. On a national level, Raab has increased the annual budget of the Documentation Center Political Islam to 1,700,000 euros (from the original 500,000 euros). As the strongest ally in this politics, France continued its path of a crackdown on its Muslim population. Emmanuel Macron’s “systematic obstruction” policy has led to the control of 1,727 Muslim institutions. In the field of education, the so-called Laïcité Plan to control and police Muslim women’s bodies has been implemented. A national education directive forces teachers and ad- ministrative staff under threat of penalties to detect “too long” skirts, to report female pupils, and to file a disciplinary complaint. Similarly, in Belgium, the minister of justice pressured the leading imam of the Great Mosque of Brussels to resign or risk losing government funding for the mosque. In Denmark, a hijab ban in elementary schools was suggested. The government set aside funds for teachers to recognize and prevent so-called negative social control and honor-related conflicts for the next two years. British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, has largely ignored the fight against Islamophobia, while defending the infamous government’s PREVENT counter-terrorism strategy and vowed to refocus it on the threat of so-called “Islamist extremism”. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) definition of Islamophobia was officially rejected only days after the new government took office. Criticism by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) does not seem to echo with many of these member states. At the same time, other European institutions reproduce one-sided analyses that conflate radicalization and violence with Islam, portraying Muslims in the Balkans as a security threat, as is the case with the European Commission’s “Kosovo Report 2022”.
The new United Nations resolution declaring March 15 as “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” should be used by policymakers and civil society actors to press for more change in the fight against anti-Muslim racism. We reiterate the urgency as declared by European institutions, especially with regard to the member states of the Council of Europe, to take the ECRI’s General Policy on preventing and combating anti-Muslim racism and discrimination seriously and to implement it. The recommendations should also be included in the various national action plans of European Union member states. European and national institutions should take the findings of the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on Combating Terrorism-Impact on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms” seriously and recognize the damage of anti-terrorism legislation on Muslim communities in Europe. Austria’s attempt to export its infamous witch hunt against Muslim civil society via the newly established “Vienna Forum on Countering Segregation and Extremism in the Context of Integration” must be fought back by EU member states. After the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) called for measures to avoid future desecration of the Muslim holy book, resultantly, the majority of Swedes now oppose the burning of religious texts, and the practice appears poised to continue. The Swedish government after the worldwide reaction, has also condemned the Islamophobia act the burning of the Quran, or any other holy text, as an offensive and disrespectful act and a clear provocation.
The Swedish government is urged to take legal action against the man who burned the holy book. The despicable act of the public burning of a copy of the holy book in Stockholm on the occasion of Eid ul Adha sparked worldwide protests and outrage. The Swedish government would have to clarify its position as to why it allowed such an act under the protection of their police on the day when the Muslims were celebrating Eidul Azha. There is an urgent need for a complete ban on desecrating holy scriptures. The Muslim world must teach the arrogant Western people that it is not freedom of expression to insult the sacred values of Muslims. Expressions of racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance must not have any place in Sweden or in Europe. All civilized nations and international institutions must urge to play a role in combating Islamophobia. The desecration of the Holy Quran was an attempt to create animosity between the Muslims and Christians and any recurrence of such a condemnable act would in no way be tolerated. Pakistan expressed deep distress over the incident, stating that Muslims worldwide have been profoundly hurt by this disgraceful act. They emphasized that no civilized society should permit the provocation and disrespect of religious sentiments under the guise of freedom of expression. They urged the international community to address this tragic incident and take effective measures to prevent similar occurrences.

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