Call for boycott of Sweden, Netherlands due to defamation – Newspaper
KARACHI: Cairo’s Al Azhar University on Thursday joined a number of Muslim countries in condemning the desecration of the Holy Quran in the Netherlands and Sweden and called for a boycott of their products.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the incidents, saying heinous acts, such as the burning of religious books, cannot be justified under the guise of freedom of expression.
In a statement, Al Azhar called on Islamic nations to take a strong and unified stand in support of the Holy Quran. The statement demanded an “appropriate response” from the two governments over “despicable and barbaric crimes” in the name of freedom of expression.
On Saturday, the Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan set fire to the Holy Koran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
Al Azhar, OIC says ‘evil acts’ cannot be justified under freedom of expression
The following day, Edwin Wagensveld, head of the Dutch branch of the German anti-Islam group Pegida, tore pages from the Holy Quran during a one-man protest outside parliament.
The OIC held an ambassadorial meeting at the United Nations on Thursday to condemn the act. “This heinous act is yet another manifestation of the alarming level of Islamophobic, racist, discriminatory trends spreading throughout the world,” said a joint statement released after the meeting. It was led by Pakistan.
The OIC’s statement reminded the international community that such heinous acts violate international human rights law.
Pakistan’s UN ambassador, Munir Akram, told the meeting that “Islamophobia continues to remain a reality, which we must all face together.”
Protests were held in Turkey, Qatar, Indonesia, Algeria, Uganda, Iraq, Jordan and Yemen against the killings.
According to Antara News, Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said these actions could threaten religious harmony worldwide.
Iran and Afghanistan also condemned the act and demanded action against the perpetrators.
Anwar Iqbal in Washington also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, January 27, 2023