RIYADH: Saudi Arabia welcomed on Wednesday the UN Human Rights Council’s approval of a measure calling on countries to do more to prevent religious hatred in the wake of Qur’an burnings in Europe.
The resolution comes after copies of the Qur’an were burned in Sweden, and calls on countries to take steps to “prevent and prosecute acts and advocacy of religious hatred that constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”
Saudi Arabia said the approval of the resolution, which came after vigorous demands from the Kingdom and a number of countries around the world, is an embodiment of the principles of respect for religions and cultures and a promotion of human values guaranteed by international law.
The Kingdom indicated that it will continue all its efforts in support of dialogue, tolerance, and moderation, and rejects all destructive acts that seek to spread hatred and extremism.
Jassem Albudaiwi, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, also praised the action.
He said incidents, such as the burning of the Qur’an by extremists in Sweden and similar events, highlighted the urgent need for international resolutions to address despicable acts that promote religious hatred and encourage violence and discrimination.
He added that the GCC countries always seek to promote tolerance and mutual understanding between different cultures and religions, and stressed respect for freedom of religious belief as one of the most important foundations of human rights and peaceful coexistence in a way that enables everyone to practice their faith freely without discrimination.
He also expressed the GCC’s rejection of any violence or action that affects religions and holy books.
Meanwhile, the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue praised the intervention of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, which he made during the Human Rights Council’s emergency session on the Qur’an burning incident.
“While KAICIID rejects the link between freedom of expression and insulting beliefs, it asserts that what happened greatly and seriously threatens the efforts exerted to maintain world peace, the coexistence of nations, and the acculturation of peoples and civilizations,” the Portugal-based international dialogue center said in a statement.
It warned of the “danger of such disgraceful acts, which ignite hatred and unleash violence, especially in a world moaning from the blows of racism and chauvinism, and suffering from the awakening of extreme nationalist movements.”
The statement added: “Despite the pain of the current moment, KAICIID renews the call to all countries and groups, especially those seeking to consolidate the roots of harmony and peace, to make more creative efforts that support stability.”