There has been widespread outrage in the Muslim world since a protestor desecrated the Quran and set fire to its pages outside Stockholm’s central mosque in Sweden.
Muslim leaders from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are set to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss a response to the most recent “despicable” desecration of a copy of the Quran in Sweden, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.
“The meeting is scheduled to discuss measures against these despicable acts to express a united position against the desecration of the Holy Quran,” the statement said.
The meeting, which will be held at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah, was called in response to an invitation from Saudi Arabia — which currently chairs the Islamic Summit and the OIC’s Executive Committee.
The OIC warned of the gravity of the incident and said the decision by Sweden to allow such an act undermines mutual respect and harmony among peoples and contradicts international efforts to spread tolerance, moderation, and opposition to extremism.
It also urged governments of countries in the bloc involved to take effective measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
The statement reaffirmed the obligation that all states have undertaken under the UN Charter to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion.
On Wednesday, a 37 year old Iraqi migrant publicly desecrated a Quran outside Stockholm’s central mosque on the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid, following approval from Swedish authorities.
The man tore pages from the holy text, soiled them with his shoe, and set them aflame, according to a report by Swedish public broadcaster SVT.
A crowd of approximately 200 spectators, which included counter protesters, stood watching, according to local news. A man was taken into custody following an attempt to throw a rock during the event.
In a statement on Thursday, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the act, highlighting that the occurrence of such actions under the veneer of freedom of speech incites hatred and violence, undermines peaceful coexistence, and lays bare a hypocritical double standard.
“The State of Qatar stresses that this heinous incident is an act of incitement and a serious provocation to the feelings of more than two billion Muslims in the world, especially during Eid Al-Adha,” it read.
The Arab League also joined in the condemnation of Sweden’s decision to allow extremists to desecrate a copy of the Holy Quran, holding the government accountable for the outcomes and repercussions of the act.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, reprimanded Swedish authorities for their laxity towards such acts despite the widespread understanding of the consequences of escalating hatred and bigotry.
He stated that government responsibility extends beyond merely tolerating or inciting extremism to actively counter these harmful tendencies.