The latest Quran burning in Denmark was condemned by Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen who described it as an act of “stupidity”.
Iraq announced an “emergency” meeting within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (IOC) on Saturday, over the latest Quran burning incidents in Sweden and Denmark, the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Iraqi government’s announcement came following two consecutive incidents in which the Holy Quran was burned in Sweden on Thursday followed by a similar stunt in Denmark in an attempt to provoke millions of Muslims globally.
“The systematic path that the ministry adheres to during the scheduled meeting aims at actions that offend the Holy Quran and the sanctities of Muslims, and sets collective mechanisms to confront the phenomenon of Islamophobia,” the statement read.
The Iraqi statement added that the “provocative and heinous practices against Islamic sanctities” are enabled by the countries’ laws under the pretext of freedom of expression.
“This revives hatred and extremism, threatens social peace and security, and brings human societies back to the memory of violence,” the statement noted.
On Friday, a man set a copy of the Quran on fire across from the Iraqi Embassy in Copenhagen while live-streaming the stunt on a Facebook page 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 said.
Iraq had also summoned the Danish ambassador in protest against the move.
The incident in Denmark came just a day after Iraqi migrant Salwan Momika staged a similar provocative move outside Baghdad’s embassy in Stockholm on Thursday, where he stepped on a copy of the holy book.
Momika had triggered outrage among Muslims worldwide after desecrating and burning the Quran on Eid last month.
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.
Protesters set the Swedish embassy in Iraq on Thursday in protest of the incident and were later dispersed by Baghdad’s security forces. While Iraq condemned the attack on the Swedish office, it also expelled Sweden’s ambassador in protest of the burning of the Quran.
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”.
“The Ministry stresses in that regard that allowing continued attacks against the Quran under the pretense of freedom of expression inflames hatred and violence, threatens peaceful coexistence, and reveals objectionable double standards,” the statement added.
Last week, the United Nations’ leading human rights body responded to Momika’s initial stunt by approving a 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.
In a speech at the UN Human Rights Council’s urgent debate on public acts of incitement to religious hatred, Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation Lolwah Al Khater pointed towards the “puzzling” lack of accountability regarding religion-based hate speech.
“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.
Last year, the Collective for Countering Islamophobia in Europe (CCIE) reported a “remarkable rise of Islamophobia and the policies that it inspires”, as quoted by Anadolu Agency at the time.
CCIE, a Belgium-based anti-Islamophobia group, attributed the spike in incidents to the rise of nationalism with governments downplaying its risks.
Quantifying the incidents, CCIE said that it received 787 incidents of Islamophobia throughout 2022, including 527 Islamophobic acts.
Other incidents out of the total figure included 467 acts of discrimination, 128 of provocation, 71 of insults, 27 of physical violence along with other harrowing cases.