Doha said it was “dissatisfied” by the “failure of the authorities in Sweden to stop such practices.”
Qatar summoned the Swedish ambassador to Doha on Friday to protest the repeated attacks on the Quran in Sweden, after Stockholm allowed for yet another stunt to burn the holy book.
In a statement, Qatar’s foreign ministry “on the back of continued attack aimed at the Quran and Islam, it was summoning HE Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to the state Gautam Bhattacharyya to hand him an official objection memo that includes calls on the Swedish authorities to take all the necessary measures to stop these heinous practices,” QNA reported.
It stressed that allowing continued attacks against the Quran under the pretence of freedom of expression inflames hatred and violence, threatens peaceful coexistence, and reveals objectionable double standards.
On Thursday, Iraqi migrant Salwan Momika, who triggered outrage among Muslims worldwide after desecrating and burning the Quran on Eid last month, staged a similar provocative incident outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm.
However, Momika fell short of setting it alight and ended his stunt after stamping on the holy book.
In its statement, Doha said it was “dissatisfied” by the “failure of the authorities there to stop these practices, which express hatred and religious discrimination, despite the repeated condemnation of Arab and Islamic countries, the condemnation of the international community, and the issuance of the Human Rights Council resolution condemning acts of religious hatred.”
Last week, the UN’s leading human rights body responded to Momika’s initial stunt by overwhelmingly approving a measure that calls on nations to step up their efforts to combat religious hatred in the aftermath of the Quran burnings.
The vote drew 12 rejections, the majority of which were European states.
The Swedish government, while condemning the Quran burning as “Islamophobic,” also recognised the “constitutionally protected right to freedom of assembly, expression and demonstration” in the country.
In a speech at the UN Human Rights Council’s urgent debate on public acts of incitement to religious hatred, Qatar’s outspoken Minister of State for International Cooperation Lolwah Al Khater pointed towards the “puzzling” lack of accountability regarding religion-based hate speech, especially against Muslims, despite legislations in favour of other minorities being easily approved.
“We remain puzzled by the opposition that some countries expressed to stopping religion-based hate speech especially against Muslims, while they themselves introduce new legislations and statements every day defending new self-defined minorities,” maintained Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation Lolwah Al Khater.
“By the same token STOP ISLAMOPHOBIA.”
‘We don’t burn religious books’
Meanwhile, a Muslim Swedish man of Syrian origin who was given permission to set the Torah and the Bible on fire outside the Israeli embassy did not go through with his plan earlier this month.
In a surprising turn of events, Ahmad Allus opted instead to demonstrate against the growing trend of desecrating holy books.
The 32 year-old had gained approval from Stockholm police to hold a limited protest involving three people. However, instead of carrying out his initial intent, Ahmad chose a path of peace, symbolically throwing a lighter to the ground rather than igniting the holy texts.
“I never thought I would burn any books. I’m a Muslim, we don’t burn [books],” Ahmad said to the small assembly gathered in anticipation of the event, as quoted by broadcaster SVT.
He further explained that his real motive for organising the protest was to highlight the distinction between the freedom of speech and the disrespect to other ethnic communities. “This is a response to the people who burn the Quran. I want to show that freedom of expression has limits that must be taken into account,” Ahmad voiced his concerns.
“If I burn the Torah, another the Bible, another the Quran, there will be war here. What I wanted to show is that it’s not right to do it,” he added.