PM, world leaders condemn Islamophobic act in Sweden

Says 'garb of freedom of expression' used to hurt religious sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world

Agencies January 22, 2023
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Photo: APP


Pakistan political leadership led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned on Sunday the despicable act of desecration of the Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden the other day, saying that the abhorrent act hurt the sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

Several international organisations, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), also condemned the incident, terming it a hate crime and called for increased international efforts to prevent the recurrence of such acts and forge solidarity to fight Islamophobia.

“No words are enough to adequately condemn the abhorrable act of desecration of the Holy Quran by a right-wing extremist in Sweden. The garb of the freedom of expression cannot be used to hurt the religious emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims across the world. This is unacceptable,” Shehbaz said in a tweet.

Condemning the Stockholm incident Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) recalled that in March last, “on our govt’s initiative the UNGA passed OIC sponsored landmark Res on International Day to Combat Islamophobia. It recognised that Islamophobic acts were not an expression of freedom of speech”.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Deputy Chairman Senate Mirza Muhammad Afridi, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani also condemned the incident in their separate statements, describing it as the worst example of religious intolerance and desecration.

Read Pakistan assails Islamophobic incidents in Sweden, Netherlands

They said that Islam was a peaceful religion and respected the teachings and beliefs of all religions. They stressed that these kinds of heinous incidents create hatred. They emphasised the need for immediate action against elements involved in this heinous act.

OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha, in a statement in Jeddah on Sunday termed the incident a vile act of Islamophobia. He urged the Swedish authorities to take necessary measures against the perpetrators of this hate crime.

In Stockholm, meanwhile, Sweden's prime minister Ulf Kristersson also condemned as "deeply disrespectful" act in Stockholm, which had raised tensions with Turkey. "Freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today," Kristersson tweeted.Many Muslim countries also said they were outraged by the Islamophobic act. Morocco said it was "astonished" the authorities had allowed it to take place "in front of the Swedish forces of order". Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also condemned it, as did the Gulf Cooperation Council.


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