Several countries, including Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco, summoned their Swedish ambassadors to protest the disrespect shown to the Quran.
The Swedish government has publicly denounced the recent “Islamophobic” burning of the Quran outside a mosque in Stockholm following global outcry, despite Swedish police previously green lighting the incident.
“The Swedish government fully understands that the Islamophobic acts committed by individuals at demonstrations in Sweden can be offensive to Muslims,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“We strongly condemn these acts, which in no way reflect the views of the Swedish government,” it added.
The statement was made following a call by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a bloc consisting of 57 members from the Muslim world, which called for global measures to prevent the desecration of the Quran in the future.
On Wednesday, Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi resident and migrant in Sweden, publicly burned the Muslim holy book outside a mosque in Stockholm on the first day of Eid Al Adha.
Swedish police initially issued a permit to allow Momika to desecrate the Quran outside the place of worship, citing free speech protections.
However, police later disclosed that an investigation was underway for “agitation against an ethnic group,” given that Momika had chosen to burn pages from the Islamic holy book in close proximity to the mosque.
After an emergency meeting at its headquarters in Jeddah, the OIC urged member nations to “take unified and collective measures to prevent the recurrence of incidents of desecration of copies of the Quran”.
In response, the Swedish foreign ministry said “the burning of the Quran, or any other holy text, is an offensive and disrespectful act and a clear provocation. Expressions of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance have no place in Sweden or in Europe.”
However, the ministry noted that Sweden upholds the “constitutionally protected right to freedom of assembly, expression and demonstration”.
In reaction to the incident, several countries, including Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco, summoned their Swedish ambassadors to protest the disrespect shown to the Quran. Qatar issued a statement condemning the act as a severe provocation to billions of Muslims around the world.