• PM Shehbaz vows to launch campaign to end sacrilege in Nordic state
• S. Arabia, Iran summon Swedish diplomats; Baghdad and Tehran protests demand envoys’ expulsion
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday strongly condemned yet another incident of the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden, vowing to launch a campaign to end the sacrilege of holy books in the Nordic state.
The government will help create a common strategy to eradicate evil from the platform of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the prime minister said.
The prime minister’s remarks came after a refugee, Salwan Momika, on Thursday stepped on the Holy Quran but did not burn it, as he had done less than a month earlier at a similar protest outside Stockholm’s main mosque, triggering renewed condemnation and calls for protest across the Muslim world.
Moreover, the prime minister said that the OIC must play its role in representing the sentiments of the Muslim Ummah and combat with this evil. The PM pledged to launch a campaign to reverse the decision to allow the desecration of the Torah, the Bible and the Holy Quran.
He said the permission to desecrate the holy books, persons, and rituals was not the freedom of expression, but rather a way to constantly torment the world.
The sequence of events indicates that this was not an issue of freedom of expression, but rather part of a political and satanic agenda, he said.
“The whole world of Islam and Christianity must collectively stop this conspiracy. Satan’s followers are blaspheming the holy books which gave human beings dignity, rights and guidance.”
The prime minister said that the decision to allow the desecration of the Torah and the Gospel encouraged desecrators.
This promotion of hatred is not allowed under international law, and attitudes of religious incitement, provocation to terrorism, and violence are detrimental to world peace.
“These behaviours are highly abhorrent and condemnable both legally and morally,” the prime minister remarked.
Separately, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, during a weekly press briefing, said that Pakistan condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the repeated Islamophobic acts of public desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden.
She described these disturbing acts as both legally and morally reprehensible. The permission to carry out premeditated and provocative acts of religious hatred cannot be justified under the guise of freedom of expression, opinion, and protest.
Ms Baloch called for unequivocal condemnation of Islamophobic acts, the isolation of those who stoke religious hatred, building deterrence, and the promotion of mutual respect, tolerance, and harmony among religions, faiths, and cultures.
“We expect Swedish authorities to take all measures necessary to stop such acts of hatred and incitement. Pakistan’s concerns about the latest incident are being conveyed to the Swedish authorities,” she stressed.
S. Arabia, Iran summon Swedish envoys In separate moves, Saudi Arabia and Iran summoned Swedish diplomats to denounce Stockholm’s permission for protests that desecrate the Holy Quran on free speech grounds.
Saudi Arabia said it would hand the Swedish charge d’affaires “a protest note that includes the kingdom’s request to the Swedish authorities to take all immediate and necessary measures to stop these disgraceful acts”, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said Sweden’s ambassador to Tehran had been called in to censure the permit granted to Momika’s protest and to warn Stockholm of the consequences of such actions.
Iraq’s government condemned the attack. It also retaliated against the protest in Sweden by expelling its ambassador, vowing to sever ties and suspending the operating licence of Swedish telecom giant Ericsson.
Iraqis, Iranians rally
Hundreds of people gathered in Baghdad’s Sadr City after Friday prayers, chanting “Yes, yes to Islam, yes, yes to the Holy Quran”, an AFP correspondent said.
In Tehran, hundreds of protesters, waving Iranian flags and carrying copies of the holy book, chanted “Down with the United States, Britain, Israel and Sweden” as some set the blue-and-yellow Swedish flag ablaze.
Sweden on Friday cited security concerns in a decision to relocate embassy staff and operations from Baghdad to Stockholm, after protesters stormed the embassy compound in a pre-dawn raid this week.
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2023