Qatar joined the international community on Sunday in condemning the latest Quran burning incident in Denmark.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) suspended the status of Sweden’s special envoy to the bloc on Sunday in response to the latest Quran burning incidents in Stockholm.
The OIC said in a statement that its decision came “in line with the recommendations of the Final Communique” issued by an emergency meeting on 2 July, which was held in response to a Quran burning stunt in Sweden.
Last month, Iraqi migrant Salwan Momika staged a provocative move in Sweden with the permission of Swedish authorities, triggering outrage among Muslim countries for desecrating and burning the holy book.
Momika then carried out a similar move on Thursday outside Baghdad’s embassy in Stockholm, where he stepped on another copy of the Quran.
“The Secretary-General [Hissein Brahim Taha] conveyed this decision in a letter addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden,” the OIC said in a statement.
The OIC meeting also asked Taha “to consider possible steps to review the official framework linking the General Secretariat to any country in which copies of the Holy Quran or other Islamic values and symbols are desecrated with the consent of the authorities concerned.”
“He [Taha] called on all Member States to take the sovereign decisions they deem appropriate to express their position condemning the granting by the Swedish authorities of licenses that enabled the repeated abuse of the sanctity of the Holy Quran and Islamic symbols,” the statement added.
The OIC’s chief also stressed the need to take “the necessary legislative measures to criminalise such attacks, bearing in mind that the exercise of freedom of expression entailed special duties and responsibilities.”
“He also emphasised that acts of desecration of copies of the Holy Quran and insulting the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, and Islamic symbols, were not just ordinary Islamophobia incidents,” the statement read.
The OIC said it is preparing to hold another meeting on the matter, though it has yet to announce the date and the venue.
Europe has come under fire for the latest growing wave of Islamophobia that involve desecrating or insulting copies of the holy Quran. On Friday, a man set a copy of the holy scripture on fire across from the Iraqi Embassy in Copenhagen while live-streaming the stunt on a Facebook page that called itself the “Danish Patriots”.
The move was condemned by Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who described it as an act of “stupidity”.
“It is a disgraceful act to insult the religion of others,” Rasmussen added.
Iraq had also summoned the Danish ambassador to protest the move amid global outrage on the repetition of such acts in Europe.
Qatar joined the international community on Sunday in condemning the incident in the Danish capital, describing it as “an act of incitement and a serious provocation to the feelings of more than two billion Muslims in the world.”
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns that allowing repeated infringement of the Holy Quran under the pretext of freedom of expression fuels hatred and violence, threatens the value of peaceful coexistence, and reveals abhorrent double standards,” the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Gulf state warned “that hate campaigns against Islam and the discourse of Islamophobia have witnessed a dangerous escalation with the continued systematic calls for the repeated targeting of Muslims in the world.”
Meanwhile, Qatar summoned the Swedish ambassador to Doha, Gautam Bhattacharyya, on Friday to protest the repeated attacks on the Quran in Sweden.
The Qatari foreign ministry expressed “its strong dissatisfaction and denunciation of the repeated permission” to burn the holy book in Sweden and “the failure of the authorities there to stop these practices”.
Qatar was also among a list of countries that voted in favour of a United Nations’ motion that called on nations to step up their efforts to combat religious hatred.
The vote drew 12 rejections, the majority of which were European states, all of which were accused by activists of taking a double-standard approach in addressing hate speech.
Since the start of the year, far-right leaders in Europe – Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden – have launched provocative Quran burning stunts that have triggered global outrage and drew condemnation from Muslim countries, including Qatar.
In May, Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation Lolwah Al Khater said that the consequences of ongoing Islamophobia “threaten the whole world”.
“The consequences of this phenomenon [Islamophobia] are not limited to Muslim countries and societies only. They also threaten the whole world, as a result of its long-term and cross-border repercussions,” Al Khater said in a video shared by the Gulf state’s foreign ministry at the time.
Al-Khater’s remarks came during a roundtable on Islamophobia that was held in Qatar with the attendance of more than 30 experts and policy makers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the United States, Europe, and Asia.
During her speech, Al Khater warned that the “malign Islamophobic discourse has reached dangerous levels”
“The deliberate targeting of Islam and Muslims is on the rise around the world. Instead of stopping it, prejudice and deliberate discrimination against Muslims are being encouraged and fueled,” the top Qatari official said.
More recently, Al Khater an impassioned speech at the UN Human Rights Council’s urgent debate on public acts of incitement to religious hatred, in which she 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.”