The Foreign Office (FO) on Saturday condemned “in the strongest terms” the act of desecration of the Holy Quran by Danish politician Rasmus Paludan a day before, according to an official statement.

Having strongly condemned recent such incidents in Sweden and the Netherlands, Pakistan today termed the abhorrent act done in Denmark “senseless and deeply offensive” while declaring Paludan an Islamophobe.

In the statement, the FO said the “repetition of the vile act leaves little doubt in the minds of Muslims around the world that freedom of expression is being blatantly abused to spread religious hatred and incitement to violence”.

Terming the recent acts as “racist and Islamophobic”, the FO called on the “national governments as well as the international community” to prevent such acts.

Pakistan also raised its concern about the “legal framework behind which the Islamophobes hide and spread hatred with impunity”, asserting the “international community cannot turn a blind eye to these hate mongers”.

Reiterating its position that “freedom of expression comes with responsibilities”, the FO said that Pakistan’s concerns were being conveyed to the authorities in Denmark.

Urging the authorities to be mindful of the sentiments of Muslims around the world, Pakistan asked them to “take steps to prevent such hateful and Islamophobic acts”.

Recent wave of offensive acts

Paludan, the leader of Denmark’s far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), burned a copy of the Holy Quran in front of a mosque in Denmark on Friday, leading to great outrage among Muslims all over the world.

He had also committed a similar act on Jan 21 when he set a copy of the Holy Quran on fire during an anti-Islam and anti-immigration protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Sweden.

The act had led to strong denunciation by Pakistani politicians including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, outgoing Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) secretary-general.

Friday’s is the third such incident within a week. A day after Paludan had done so in Sweden, Edwin Wagensveld —who heads the Dutch chapter of a German anti-Islam group — tore pages out of the holy scripture in the Netherlands during a one-man protest on Jan 22.

A day ago, the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution expressing its deepest dismay and shock at the “vicious and vile acts” in Sweden and Netherlands.

It said that Pakistan should take up this issue at the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva next week while also demanding the government to coordinate with OIC member countries to take a unified stand on the matter.

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