Denmark to look for legal options to limit Quran burnings

A man holds up a copy of the Holy Quran amid protests against incidents of desecration of the holy book. — AFP/File
A man holds up a copy of the Holy Quran amid protests against incidents of desecration of the holy book. — AFP/File

COPENHAGEN: The Danish government announced Sunday that it would look for legal options to put an end to the protests involving the burning of sacred texts in specific situations, in response to security concerns after international backlash over several incidents of the Holy Quran’s desecration in Denmark and Sweden.

A statement issued by the foreign ministry of Denmark noted that such protests played into the hands of extremists.

It said that government wants to “explore” intervening in situations where “other countries, cultures, and religions are being insulted, and where this could have significant negative consequences for Denmark, not least with regard to security,” it said in a statement from the foreign ministry.

“This must of course be done within the framework of the constitutionally protected freedom of expression and in a manner that does not change the fact that freedom of expression in Denmark has very broad scope,” it added, stressing it is one of the country´s most important values.

Several recent protests involving the desecration of the Holy Quran have raised diplomatic tensions throughout the Middle East and the two Nordic countries.

The Danish government noted that the protests have “reached a level where Denmark, in many parts of the world across continents, is being viewed as a country that facilitates insult and denigration of the cultures, religions, and traditions of other countries.”

It added that the “primary purpose” of some of the actions had been to provoke and “could have significant consequences.”

Both Danish and Swedish envoys have been summoned in a slew of Middle Eastern nations.

In a separate statement, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said he had been in close contact with his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen, and that a similar process was already underway in Sweden.

“We have also started to analyse the legal situation already… in order to consider measures to strengthen our national security and the security of Swedes in Sweden and around the world,” Kristersson said in a post to Instagram.

On Thursday, Sweden’s government ordered 15 government agencies — including Sweden’s armed forces, several law enforcement agencies and the Swedish tax agency — to strengthen the country’s ability to prevent terrorism in response to a worsened security situation.

The announcement came a day after the government said the country had become the target of disinformation campaigns.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq have called for a meeting, expected to be held on Monday, of the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to address the Holy Quran desecration in both Sweden and Denmark.

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