Quran burning in Sweden: Saudi Arabia strongly condemns 'deliberate abuse'

Issuing a statement early on Monday, the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry said that it condemned the deliberate abuse of the Quran, the provocations and incitement against Muslims by some extremists in the Scandinavian country.
People are silhouetted by smoke after protests broke out at Rosengard in Malmo on April 17, 2022. (via AP)
People are silhouetted by smoke after protests broke out at Rosengard in Malmo on April 17, 2022. (via AP)
Published on Apr 18, 2022 07:52 PM IST
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Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar, New Delhi

Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned the burning of the Quran by far-right groups in Sweden. Issuing a statement early on Monday, the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry said that it condemned the deliberate abuse of the Quran, the provocations and incitement against Muslims by some extremists in the Scandinavian country.

The ministry added that Saudi Arabia stresses the importance of concerted efforts to spread values of dialogue, tolerance, coexistence, renounce hatred, extremism and exclusion and prevent the abuse of all religions and holy sites.

Violence was seen in Sweden during the weekend as clashes broke out between police and demonstrators rallying against plans by a far-right group to burn copies of the Quran, which is the central religious text of Islam.

Twenty-six people have been arrested in the clashes- eight from Norrkoping and 18 from Linkoping city, news agency AFP reported on Monday citing a police statement. On Sunday, three people were injured in Norrkoping after police fired warning shots.

Before Saudi Arabia, Iraq summoned the Swedish charge d'affaires, Hakan Rooth, in Baghdad on Sunday over the burning of the Quran.

Issuing a statement, the Iraqi foreign ministry said it lodged a protest with Rooth over the incident in Sweden.

The ministry further warned the burning of the religious text would have serious repercussions on the relations between Sweden and Muslims in general, both Muslim and Arab countries and the Muslim communities in Europe.

AFP further reported that this was the second time on Sunday that clashes were seen in Norrkoping and Linkoping cities of Sweden in four days over the rallies held by Hard Line- which is an anti-immigration and anti-Islam group.

The rallies have led to clashes between police and counter-protesters across Sweden in recent days.

Hard Line is headed by Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan, who is planning to contest in the legislative elections in Sweden this September.

A lawyer and a YouTuber, Paludan, 40, had earlier been convicted of making racial insults. He does not have the necessary number of signatures to secure his candidature in the election.

Paludan is currently touring across Sweden, visiting neighbourhoods that house a large Muslim population to burn copies of the Quran.

Last Saturday, Paludan burned a Koran in Malmo. The Danish-Swedish politician had burned the religious text in 2019 too, by wrapping it in bacon.

And a year later, in 2020, he was arrested in France and deported.

(With agency inputs)

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