Pakistan on Monday strongly condemned yet another incident of the desecration of the Holy Quran in The Netherlands, calling upon the European country to take swift action against such “hateful and Islamophobic acts”.

“Pakistan condemns in the strongest terms the latest senseless and deeply offensive act of desecration of the Holy Quran that took place in The Hague, the Netherlands in front of some embassies of OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) member countries, including Pakistan,” the Foreign Office (FO) said in a press release issued today.

Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah had reported on Saturday that Dutch far-right activist Edwin Wagensveld, who leads the Dutch branch of the far-right group Pegida, had desecrated the Holy Quran in front of the Turkish, Pakistani and Indonesian embassies in the Hague and “insulted Islam and Muslims”.

The FO said the “deliberately provocative and Islamophobic act” hurt the sentiments of Muslims around the world and such actions could not be condoned under the “guise of freedom of expression, opinion and protest”.

It added that Pakistan had conveyed its concerns to the Dutch authorities, urging them to be “mindful of the sentiments” of the people of Pakistan and Muslims around the world and take active steps to prevent such “hateful and Islamophobic acts”.

“Pakistan believes that freedom of expression comes with responsibilities. National governments should actively prevent racist and Islamophobic acts, which incite religious hatred.

“It is important for the international community to raise its voice against Islamophobia and work in concert to promote interfaith harmony. That was the spirit behind the resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2022 to mark March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia,” the FO said.

Separately, Saudi Arabia also issued a condemnation and denounced the incident in a statement posted earlier today on the social media platform X.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of these reprehensible and recurring acts that cannot be justified under any circumstances. Such acts clearly promote hatred, exclusion, and racism, and directly contradict international efforts to promote values of tolerance, moderation, and the rejection of extremism,” the country’s foreign ministry said.

Meanwhile, Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary General Jassim Mohammed Al-Budaiwi called for “urgent and effective international steps to confront these aggressive and provocative actions against Muslims.”

The OIC also criticised the “provocative act” in a statement issued a day ago.

It had called on the Dutch authorities to take necessary measures against such provocative acts and prevent their recurrence.

Last month, Wagensveld had trampled on and tore up a copy of the Holy Quran at a demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in The Hague, infuriating dozens of counter-protesters.

The Dutch government had already condemned the holding of the demonstration ahead of the event but said it had no legal powers to prevent it.

Similar incidents of the Holy Quran’s desecration have taken place in other European countries recently. In late July, two men set fire to a copy of the Quran in front of the Swedish parliament, and similar incidents have taken place in Denmark this year.

Such demonstrations have provoked anger and condemnations and sometimes unrest in several Muslim countries.

Muslim leaders addressing the United Nations General Assembly last week had berated the West over torchings of the Holy Quran.

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