Global Outrage And Diplomatic Tensions Rise After Quran Burning In Sweden

The protests spread across major cities, demanding justice for the blasphemous act and prompting a global outcry against the incident.

Sweden Quran burning

In response to the desecration of the Quran in Sweden, people across Pakistan took to the streets on Friday, organizing massive rallies to condemn the blasphemous act. The incident occurred when an Iraqi-born refugee burned the Muslim holy book outside a mosque on the first day of Eid al-Adha last week. The nationwide protests were held in all major cities of Pakistan, with local religious leaders delivering speeches denouncing the act of desecration and demanding justice against the culprit.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan called on the people to stage peaceful protests against the Quran burning incident in Sweden. Recognizing the nation's unity when it comes to matters concerning the Quran, Prime Minister Sharif tweeted on Friday, expressing his distress over the incident and urging the entire Pakistani Muslim community to unite and peacefully express their feelings and emotions. He emphasized that the Quran holds immense significance in the hearts of Muslims and serves as a guiding principle for their lives.

As part of the protests in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, demonstrators expressed their anger by burning the flag of Sweden. Chanting slogans such as "The holy Quran is our red line," the protesters passionately conveyed their strong attachment to the sanctity of the Quran. The rallies in Pakistan came in response to Prime Minister Sharif's call for peaceful demonstrations against the disheartening incident in Sweden, which sparked outrage across the Muslim Ummah.

Majority of Swedes Support Ban on Public Burning of Religious Texts

A recent survey conducted in Sweden revealed that a majority of the Swedish population supports a ban on the public burning of religious texts, including the Quran and the Bible. The survey, carried out by Kantar Public on behalf of Swedish national television broadcaster SVT, indicated that 53 percent of respondents believed burning holy scriptures in public should be prohibited, while 34 percent expressed support for allowing such acts. The shift in public opinion reflects an 11 percent increase in those favoring a ban since February, potentially influenced by the global reaction to recent Quran burnings.

Global Outrage and Implications for Sweden

The Quran burning in Sweden has sparked outrage and condemnation from various countries and organizations around the world. Governments in Asia and the Middle East publicly denounced the act, and the United Nations is expected to address the incident in an upcoming meeting. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Sweden, hindering its bid to join NATO and vowing to teach the "arrogant Western people" the importance of respecting sacred values. The incident also strained diplomatic ties between Turkey and Sweden, adding to existing tensions.

Swedish Government Condemns Quran Burning as "Islamophobic"

The Swedish government has condemned the Quran burning as an "Islamophobic" act and a clear provocation. While acknowledging the right to freedom of assembly, expression, and demonstration protected by the Swedish constitution, the government emphasized that expressions of racism, xenophobia, and intolerance have no place in Sweden or Europe. However, a complete ban on desecrating holy scriptures would require the reintroduction of a law that was abolished in the 1970s.

Renewed Concerns and Future Applications to Burn Religious Texts

In the wake of the Quran burning incident, the Swedish police rejected two requests to hold Quran burning protests in 2023, citing security concerns and potential threats to embassies abroad. However, the Court of Appeals later overturned these decisions, allowing for such demonstrations to take place. Recently, three new applications to burn religious scriptures, including the Quran, the Bible, and the Torah, were submitted to the police, raising renewed concerns about future incidents and their implications for free speech and religious tolerance in Sweden.

Iraqi Outrage and Calls for Legal Actions Against the Perpetrator

The Quran burning in Sweden, reportedly carried out by an Iraqi immigrant, Salwan Momika, has caused significant distress and anger among Iraqis. Muqtada al-Sadr, a prominent Iraqi cleric, called on the Iraqi government to sever diplomatic relations with Sweden, referring to it as "hostile" to Islam. He further demanded that Mr. Momika be stripped of his citizenship and be repatriated to Iraq for prosecution. The Iraqi foreign ministry also condemned Sweden for allowing the desecration of the holy Quran.