Riyadh, 3 July 2023(TDI): The Ministry of foreign affairs summoned the ambassador of Sweden in Saudi Arabia and informed her of the Kingdom’s strong protest against the burning of a copy of the Holy Qur’an in front of the Stockholm Central Mosque in Sweden last week, which had caused international condemnation and criticism.

The Kingdom had also issued a statement on June 29 rejecting the Iraqi extremist, who had burned and disrespected the Holy Qur’an outside the mosque after Eid al-Adha prayers.

Saudi Government Condemns Quran Burning

In a released statement, the Saudi Foreign Ministry urged the Swedish government to deter all activities that can hamper the growth of international values of mutual tolerance, moderation, and rejection of extremism. The ministry underlined that mutual respect is essential for positive relations between the people and their states.

“These hateful and repeated acts cannot be accepted with any justification,” Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry added.

In the presence of police protection, a person named Salwan Momika ignited the Muslim Holy Book on June 26 in front of the Stockholm Central Mosque. He timed this proactive act with the celebrations of Eid al-Adha, one of the significant Muslim religious festivals observed globally.

Moreover, this state-sponsored incident deeply hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslim community worldwide, attracting dissent among the public.

Several Muslim countries, including Türkiye, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Senegal, Morocco, and Mauritania, recorded their protest against the sad incident.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also called for a collective measure to prevent future acts of Qur’an burning. The member countries met in an extraordinary session on July 2, 2023, in Jeddah to discuss the incident’s repercussions.

Sweden’s Position on the Incident

In response to global criticism, Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that the Qur’an burning was “legal but not appropriate.”

Also read: OIC denounces Holy Quran’s desecration in Netherlands & Sweden

Sweden has witnessed a rise in these Muslim-targeted extremist activities in recent years, but the Swedish constitution protects these acts on the grounds of freedom of expression.

In January 2023 a far-right politician, Rasmus Paludan, a dual Danish-Swedish national, carried out a similar act to disrespect Muslims.

The Swedish government condemned this act on Sunday, calling it “Islamophobic.”

“The burning of the Qur’an, or any other holy text, is an offensive and disrespectful act and a clear provocation. Expressions of racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance have no place in Sweden or Europe,” the Swedish foreign ministry added.