Swedish extremist disrupts societal serenity

TEHRAN, Apr. 20 (MNA) – Hundreds of millions of Muslims across the globe took umbrage at a leader of a far-right group in Sweden for violating the sanctity of the Holy Quran.

A Swedish reactionary politician has disrupted societal peace in Sweden by taking the sacrilegious step of burning the holy Quran, a book deeply venerated and cherished by all Muslims in the world. 

The politician, Rasmus Paludan, who is the leader of a far-right group in the city of Linkoping, set the holy book on fire seemingly to show objection to his country’s immigration policy. The move, which was apparently intended to incite violence by the Swedish Muslim community with the aim of demonizing them, entangled Sweden in a diplomatic crisis with the Muslim world.

The sacrilegious move was strongly condemned by Muslim countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar to name a few. Protests were held in a number of Muslim countries such as Malaysia, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, etc.

Muslim users on social media platforms also strongly denounced the move, with some of them even calling for a boycott of Swedish products. 

What made the disgusting move even more disgusting is that Paludan perpetrated his sacrilegious act under the protection of the Swedish police under the flimsy argument of protecting freedom of expression. 

But the argument failed to resonate with Muslims around the world who keep raising the question of how freedom of expression can be used to desecrate the sanctity of sincerely held religious beliefs of more than two billion human beings. 

This point was raised during the summoning of the Swedish chargé d'affaires in Tehran. Following Paludan’s outrageous move, the Swedish chargé d'affaires was summoned in the absence of the country’s ambassador by the director of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Western Europe Division III.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry official conveyed the Islamic Republic’s strong protest to the Swedish diplomat against the sacrilegious move by the foregoing person that was done under the pretext of freedom of speech and with the support of the Swedish police.

The Iranian official described the defiling of the sanctities of more than two billion Muslims of the world and hurting their feelings as the worst form of abusing freedom of speech, saying this regrettable event that happened under the protection of the Swedish police, tarnished Sweden’s image among the world’s Muslims.

Of course, Paludan does not represent all Swedish people or society.  But the Swedish government certainly has a responsibility in terms of preventing all kinds of hatred in its jurisdiction. If offending two billion people is not hatred, then what else can be considered hatred.  

Paludan, who was granted Swedish citizenship in 2020, is known for his hostility to Islam, and he had called for “Denmark being free of Muslims” before the Danish elections in 2019, but he failed to win a seat in Parliament.

Sweden has a genuine interest in preventing further defiling of Muslim sanctities as the repetition of such careless moves could endanger coexistence both in Sweden and the world. 

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 185920


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