Western countries should stop insulting sacred books

30 Jan 2023 11:09am
Image for illustrative purposes only - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only - FILE PIX
ANKARA - Western countries should put an end to insulting holy books, Turkish parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop said Sunday in the wake of the burning of the Quran in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands last week.

"Western countries should immediately put an end to this dangerous game," Sentop said at the 17th session of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member States (PUIC) in Algeria, according to Anadolu Agency.

His remarks came after Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, on last Friday (Jan 27) burned a copy of the Quran in front of a mosque in Denmark.

The Islamophobic act came days after Paludan burned the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Sweden during a police-approved protest.

Paludan also announced that he would burn the Muslim holy book every Friday until Sweden is included in the NATO alliance.

In another earlier provocation, Edwin Wagensveld, the leader of an Islamophobic group, Pegida, also burned the pages of the holy Quran in The Hague on January 22, drawing the wrath of Muslims worldwide.

Global condemnations have poured in, with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson calling Paludan’s actions "deeply disrespectful."

The desecration of the Quran triggered strong protests in the Muslim world, with Türkiye calling Paludan an "Islam-hating charlatan” and strongly condemning the permission given by the authorities for the provocative act, which it said "clearly constitutes a hate crime."

"The fact that provocative acts against Islam that insult our sacred values ​​are allowed by the Swedish authorities under the name of freedom of expression, that the Netherlands ignores the attack in its own country, and that Denmark follows the same line is an issue that needs to be carefully considered," it reported Sentop as saying.
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He added that these acts have shown the "hateful mentality" of the West which does not respect beliefs and ideas.

"Despite everything, we Muslims are obliged to be vigilant, moderate, reasonable and dignified. We must not abandon the principles of respecting the differences that our religion and civilization have taught us, enjoining good and avoiding evil," Sentop said.

In the face of such "dire acts," voices from Islamic countries and organisations were also very weak, the parliament speaker said.

"However, our collective and strong response will undoubtedly allow Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands or other countries where such disrespect is experienced to tidy up and will force them to prevent similar disasters that may occur in the future," he added.

In addition to the individual responses by the countries, it is necessary to show reactions at the highest level in the international bodies where the Islamic countries are represented, he said.

Malaysia also condemned in strongest term both Paludan and Wagensveld's vile act, and on Saturday, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the country will immediately issue one million copies of the Quran to be distributed around the world as a response to the "insane and impudent” act.

"I agree that the most beneficial way to respond to this insane and impudent act (burning the Quran) is to continue the efforts that have been started and to have the resolve to print and distribute one million copies of the Qurans around the world in the shortest time possible.

"(It will be) followed up with several programmes towards the appreciation and understanding of the Quran with a clear message,” Anwar said. - BERNAMA