Denmark Seeks to Restrict Protests Targeting Quran Desecration

Denmark announced on Sunday its intention to limit demonstrations involving the burning of sacred texts, citing security concerns following controversial demonstrations involving the desecration of the Quran in Copenhagen and Stockholm.


Copenhagen wants to exercise caution. The Danish government announced on Sunday, July 30, that it intends to limit potential new demonstrations involving the desecration of the Quran, which have fueled tensions with the Muslim world, citing the security problems they entail.

Several recent demonstrations in Sweden or Denmark involving book burnings or other desecrations of the sacred Muslim text have sparked diplomatic tensions between the two Scandinavian countries and several Arab countries.

Highlighting that such demonstrations play into the hands of extremists and sow division, the Danish government intends to “explore” the possibility of intervening in situations “where, for example, other countries, cultures, and religions are insulted, and which can have significant negative consequences for Denmark, especially in terms of security,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in a statement.

“Of course, this must be done within the framework of freedom of expression protected by the Constitution,” it added, emphasizing that it is one of Denmark’s most important values.

“Significant consequences”

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes that the demonstrations have “reached a level where Denmark, in many regions of the world, is perceived as a country that facilitates insulting and denigrating the cultures, religions, and traditions of other countries.”

According to the ministry, the “main purpose” of some of these demonstrations is to provoke and “could have significant consequences.”

At the end of July, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran summoned representatives of Swedish diplomatic missions in their countries. Algeria also summoned Danish representatives.

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

“We have also started to analyze the legal situation in order to consider measures to strengthen our national security and the security of Swedes in Sweden and around the world,” Kristersson reminded on Instagram.

Sweden ordered its armed forces and administrations to strengthen their preparations against terrorism at the end of July, against a backdrop of deteriorating security after several incidents of Quran desecration.

Diplomatic tensions between Stockholm and Baghdad

At the end of June, Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi refugee in Sweden, set fire to pages of the Quran outside the main mosque in Stockholm.

Last week, he again stomped on and tore apart a copy of the book in front of the Iraqi embassy to express his opposition to its precepts.

In reaction to the police’s permission to hold this event, hundreds of Iraqis invaded and set fire to the Swedish embassy in Baghdad.

The Swedish ambassador was expelled from Iraq, and Iran indicated that it would not accept a new ambassador from the Scandinavian country on its territory.

At the end of July in Denmark, the far-right movement Danske Patrioter posted a video of a man desecrating and burning what appears to be a Quran and trampling an Iraqi flag.

After a similar initiative a few days earlier, nearly a thousand protesters gathered at night in Baghdad. They had tried to march towards the Danish embassy, but the Iraqi police dispersed them with batons and tear gas shots.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq have called for an extraordinary meeting, which is expected to be held on Monday, of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) based in Jeddah to discuss the desecration of the Quran in the two Scandinavian countries.


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