KARACHI: Cairo’s Al Azhar University joined a number of Muslim countries on Thursday in condemning the desecration of the Holy Quran in the Netherlands and Sweden and called for a boycott of their products.
The Organisation of Islamic Coopration (OIC) condemned the incidents and said vile acts, like the burning of religious books, cannot be justified under the guise of freedom of expression.
In a statement, Al Azhar called on Islamic nations to take a strong and unified stand in support of the Holy Quran. The statement demanded an “appropriate response” from the two governments over “despicable and barbaric crimes” in the name of freedom of expression.
On Saturday, Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to the Holy Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Al Azhar, OIC say ‘vile acts’ can’t be justified under freedom of expression
The following day, Edwin Wagensveld, head of the Dutch chapter of the German anti-Islam group Pegida, tore pages out of the Holy Quran during a one-man protest outside the parliament.
The OIC held an ambassadorial meeting at the UN on Thursday to condemn the acts.“This vile act is yet another manifestation of the alarming level of Islamophobic, racist, discriminatory trends spreading across the globe,” said a joint statement released after the meeting. It was chaired by Pakistan.
The OIC statement reminded the international community that such heinous acts were in violation of international human rights law.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, told the meeting that “Islamophobia continues to remain a reality, which we all need to face together.”
Protests were held in Turkiye, Qatar, Indonesia, Algeria, Uganda, Iraq, Jordan and Yemen against the acts.
According to Antara news, Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said these acts could threaten religious harmony worldwide.
Iran and Afghanistan also condemned the act and demanded action against the perpetrators.
Anwar Iqbal in Washington also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2023
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