Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh protests Sweden Quran burning as condemnation pours in

Bangladesh also urged all concerned to refrain from unwarranted provocation for the sake of harmony and peaceful coexistence

Update : 22 Jan 2023, 10:34 PM

Bangladesh has strongly condemned the burning of the Holy Quran by a far-right leader in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.

The reaction comes as a number of Muslim countries condemned the act. Far-right politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book on Saturday.

“Bangladesh expresses grave concern over the act of insulting the sacred values of the Muslims all over the world in the guise of freedom of expression,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.

“Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance,” it added.

Paludan, a Swedish-Danish activist who has already been convicted for racist abuse, provoked rioting in Sweden last year when he went on a tour of the country and publicly burned copies of the Quran.  

Bangladesh believes that freedom of religion must be upheld and respected under any circumstance, said the foreign ministry.

Bangladesh also urged all concerned to refrain from unwarranted provocation for the sake of harmony and peaceful coexistence.

Meanwhile, Sweden's prime minister has condemned as "deeply disrespectful" the burning of a Quran in Stockholm, which has raised tensions with Turkey as the Nordic country courts Ankara over its Nato bid.

Furious that Paludan had been permitted by Swedish police to carry out the protest, Ankara cancelled a visit by Sweden's defence minister and summoned Stockholm's ambassador.

Late on Saturday, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson tweeted: "Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act."

"I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today."

Paludan's demonstration has further damaged relations as Stockholm tries to convince Nato member Turkey to approve Sweden and Finland joining the military alliance.

Sweden's bid has been stalled amid Ankara's demands that Stockholm hand over Kurdish activists and prevent rallies attacking Turkey's leadership.

Arab world furious

Many Muslim countries said they were outraged by the burning of the Quran.

Morocco said it was "astonished" the authorities had allowed it to take place "in front of the Swedish forces of order".

Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Jakarta said "the act of blasphemy against the holy book has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance", adding that "freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner".

Dozens of protesters gathered late Saturday in front of the Swedish consulate in Istanbul, where they burned a Swedish flag and called on Turkey to sever diplomatic ties with Stockholm. 

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