On Monday (14 August), the Algerian Foreign Ministry claimed that Denmark’s Foreign Minister apologised for the frequent incidences of Quran burning in the European nation. The Ministry claimed that the Danish Minister was regretful over the acts where certain groups gathered outside missions or embassies of several Muslim nations including the Algerian Embassy to burn the Quran, the holy book of Islam.
Denmark’s FM Lokke Rasmussen apologises for a recent string of Quran burnings by far-right extremists in front of the diplomatic missions of several Muslim nations, including Algiers’ – Algerian foreign ministry pic.twitter.com/SXzn3mm4gP
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) August 14, 2023
The Algerian Foreign Ministry made this claim in its official release regarding a telephonic conversation between the Foreign Ministers of both nations.
The statement read, “Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Community Abroad, Ahmed Attaf, received a telephone call from his Danish counterpart, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, in which he expressed his “regrets and apologies” for the criminal act of burning the Quran in front of the embassies of Muslim countries, including the Algerian embassy in Copenhagen.”
According to the Algerian Ministry, Rasmussen described these acts as intolerable and unacceptable. The Danish Minister stressed that these acts were intrinsically contrary to the traditions of hospitality, openness, and tolerance that are firmly rooted in Danish society, the statement said.
Further, during the phone call, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Rasmussen assured his Algerican counterpart that their government is bringing a law to curb these acts.
The official release stated, “He (Danish Foreign Minister) also informed Attaf that his country’s government was about to finalize the text of a law that would put an end to these unacceptable practices, adding that the bill will be submitted to the Parliament as soon as the session resumes in four weeks’ time.”
Earlier, on Saturday (12 August), members of a group named Danske Patrioter, or Danish Patriots, allegedly burned a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen, as reported by Turkish state-run news outlet Anadolu Anjansi (AA).
The media report further added that the same group proceeded ahead and allegedly burnt another copy of the Quran in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Copenhagen.
Meanwhile, on the same day, Monday (14 August) another incident of Quran burning was recorded in Sweden. A copy of the Quran was allegedly desecrated in Sweden’s capital Stockholm in front of the Royal Palace. The incident took place amid a heavy police presence where two men allegedly kicked the holy book of Islam and burnt several pages of it. Reportedly, this was the second such case in a matter of weeks where some miscreants burnt the Quran, an act which is permitted under Sweden’s freedom of speech laws.
As per an Aljazeera report, few men had printed multiple pages of the Quran that had text in Arabic as well as translations in Swedish that blew across the square.
While the Muslim nations are fuming over the incidences of the Quran burning, many European citizens have been urging their governments not to cow down to this opposition and not curtail the freedom of their citizens.
Several X users have voiced their concerns about free speech and registered their opposition to the reports claiming that governments may start curbing such protests and even put a ban on these acts.
Statement from @CLARITyCoaltion:
The Clarity Coalition is appalled by the recent decision by Western states to capitulate to the pressures of Islamists. We view the announcements by Denmark and Sweden to ban protests involving Quran burnings as a defeat for global free speech.… pic.twitter.com/6CkOZqYV3J
— Yasmine Mohammed 🦋 ياسمين محمد (@YasMohammedxx) August 14, 2023
In fact, earlier, in July, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson expressed his concerns and said that he is “extremely worried” as more people were applying for permission to burn Quran in the Nordic country.
A sharp increase in incidences of Quran burning across Europe
In recent times, Europe especially Sweden and Denmark has seen a sharp increase in the number of protests where an individual or a group has come out to register their protest and commit alleged acts of desecration or Quran burning.
In April, a group in Denmark allegedly insulted the Turkish flag and the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen.
Later, on the 28th of June, a man tore up and burned a Quran outside Stockholm’s central mosque after Swedish Police had authorised him to stage the demonstration.
A similar incident was noted on 21st July 2023. Reportedly, the Danske Patrioter group in Denmark burnt Quran in front of Iraq’s embassy in Copenhagen. The protesters also threw the Iraqi flag on the ground and stomped on it.
However, the number of incidences has seen a sharp increase even among the overall trend. On 1st August, the Quran was burnt in front of the Embassies of Türkiye, Iraq, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia in Copenhagen.
An Iranian woman, Firoozeh Bazrafkan shreds the Quran with a grater outside the Iranian embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark.pic.twitter.com/Bbj4WMQi9x
— Information Worldwide (@InfoEarthwide) August 7, 2023
Later, on 3rd August, the holy book of Islam, the Quran was again allegedly burnt in front of the Embassies of Türkiye, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
As per a Turkish news outlet, this allegedly happened on multiple occasions in front of Embasisses of Muslim countries, on the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 7th of August.
While this has strained the diplomatic relations of these nations with the Muslim world, it has led to a fierce debate between freedoms and limits of freedoms.