Pakistan asks Sweden to take ‘serious action’ against desecration of Holy Quran

Published July 3, 2023
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the federal cabinet on Monday in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif addresses the federal cabinet on Monday in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday asked Sweden to take “serious action” against the desecration of the Holy Quran and demanded a proper investigation into the incident “without any interference”.

The premier’s remarks come after a man desecrated the Holy Quran in Sweden’s capital Stockholm last week, resulting in strong condemnation from several states, including Pakistan, Turkiye, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iraq and Iran.

Sweden’s government also condemned the incident, calling it an “Islamophobic” act.

A day earlier, the 57-state Organisation of Islamic Council (OIC), in an “extraordinary” meeting in Saudi Arabia, said collective measures were needed to prevent acts of desecration of the Holy Quran and international law should be used to stop religious hatred.

It also urged member states to “take unified and collective measures to prevent the recurrence of incidents of desecration of copies of the” Holy Quran.

Addressing the federal cabinet today, PM Shehbaz said the Pakistani people and government condemned the “disgusting incident” that took place in Sweden.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first incident to take place … such heart-wrenching incidents have taken place previously as well. They highlight that Muslims in Sweden, who are a minority, are facing Islamophobia and hatred.

“The Pakistani government condemns this narrative made of hatred and discrimination,” he asserted and urged the Swedish government to take action.

Referring to the OIC statement released on Sunday, PM Shehbaz said the council also demanded that the culprit should be “heavily investigated” and such incidents should be prevented in the future.

“Pakistan’s government supports the OIC decision and hopes that nothing as such would take place in the future,” he stated, adding that the Foreign Office would follow up on the matter.

Separately, PTI Chairman Imran Khan has urged the nation to hold a “peaceful protest” after Zuhr prayers on Friday (July 7) against the desecration of the Holy Quran.

He said that as a nation “we should give this message that this incident has given us immense pain” and show that Pakistan was a nation built in the name of Islam.

Pope Francis says incident made him ‘angry and disgusted’

Pope Francis said the desecration of the Holy Quran has made him angry and disgusted, and that he condemned and rejected permitting the act as a form of freedom of speech.

“Any book considered holy should be respected to respect those who believe in it,” the pope said in an interview in the United Arab Emirates newspaper Al Ittihad, published on Monday.

“I feel angry and disgusted at these actions,” the pope said. “Freedom of speech should never be used as a means to despise others and allowing that is rejected and condemned.”

Saudi summons Swedish ambassador

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia summoned Sweden’s ambassador to denounce the desecration of the Holy Quran, state media reported early on Monday.

The kingdom — home to the holiest sites in Islam — had already condemned the incident.

The foreign ministry summoned the ambassador on Sunday to urge Sweden “to stop all actions that directly contradict international efforts seeking to spread the values of tolerance, moderation and rejection of extremism, and undermine the necessary mutual respect for relations between peoples and states”, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The desecration of the Holy Quran had coincided with the start of the Eidul Azha and the end of the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, triggering widespread anger.

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