Mohammed Abu Zaid
CAIRO: Egypt has condemned the abuse of the Qur’an, Islam’s holiest book, by a group of right-wing extremists in Sweden that has resulted in riots in several parts of the European nation over the past few days.
In a statement, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “this incident (is) among … extremist right-wing practices” used to incite “immigrants in general and Muslims in particular.”
The ministry stated that the government rejected these “assaults” on “religious principles and beliefs.” Freedom of religion was a basic human right and has to be respected, it added.
Egypt has called for calm and urged all parties “to uphold the common denominators of tolerance, acceptance of the other and peaceful coexistence among peoples, and to reject calls for incitement and hatred, and to stop acts of violence, sabotage and provocative acts that would harm the stability, security and peace of societies.”
Last Thursday, the leader of the Danish Hard Line party, Rasmus Paludan, burned a copy of the Qur’an in the southern Sweden city of Linkoping, while under police protection.
Al-Azhar condemned “the burning of copies of the Noble Qur’an, and the deliberate repetition of this shameful act despite its violation of all international laws and covenants that stipulate the necessity of respecting the sanctities of peoples, their beliefs and their religions.”
Al-Azhar reiterated “its affirmation that encroaching on religious sanctities is not a matter of freedom of expression, but rather it is an uncivilized and barbaric apostasy that disregards human values, brings human behavior back to the dark ages.”
Al-Azhar also reiterated its call for the drawing up of international legislation to prevent such abuse, “and to ensure the necessary guarantees to protect the rights of Muslims to practice their religious rites in the societies in which they live.”
Al-Azhar stated that “the Holy Qur’an will remain a guiding book for all humanity, whose sanctity will not be compromised.”
The incident was widely condemned across the world.