June 24, 2024

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation suspends Sweden’s special envoy over the desecration of the Quran

BEIRUT (AP) – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has suspended Sweden’s special envoy status over a series of Quran burnings in Stockholm that sparked outrage and mass protests in some Muslim countries.

The organization made up of 57 Muslim-majority nations said on Sunday that the suspension was due to “ granted by the Swedish authorities licenses that enabled the repeated abuse of the blessing of the Holy Quran and Islamic symbols.”

The Islamic holy book was burned or desecrated during a recent public demonstration in the Swedish capital. An Iraqi man of Christian origin who lives in Sweden as a self-proclaimed atheist announced plans to burn the Quran in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm on Thursday.

Demonstrators in Iraq stormed the Swedish Embassy and the Iraqi government severed diplomatic relations with Sweden. In the end, the man in Sweden kicked and stood on the Islamic holy book but could not set it on fire.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s decision came after the bloc’s executive committee held a meeting on July 2 following a meeting earlier Quran incident.

The committee asked the secretary general to consider suspending the status of the special envoy from “any country where copies of the Holy Qur’an or other Islamic values ​​and symbols are destroyed with the consent of the authorities concerned,” according to a statement on Sunday.

The organization said it had sent a letter to Sweden’s foreign minister informing it of the decision.

The public burning of the Quran in Denmark on Friday sparked more protests in Iraq, some of them violent. Protesters clashed with police as they tried to storm the Green Zone in Baghdad, where the Danish embassy is located, and in Basra, demonstrators turned on facilities related to a demining project of the Danish Refugee Council.

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday condemned the Quran.

“Burning holy texts and other religious symbols is a shameful act that disregards the faith of others,” he said. “It is a provocative act that hurts many people and creates division between different religions and cultures.”

He said, however, that “freedom of speech and freedom of assembly must be respected.”

While many countries around the world still have laws that criminalize blasphemy, Sweden and Denmark do not, and the burning of sacred texts is not specifically prohibited by law.

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