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Denmark set to criminalize public burning of Quran

26 August 2023 [21:00] - TODAY.AZ

The Danish government said Friday that it has presented a bill criminalizing the burning of religious scriptures publicly, Azernews reports, citing Anadolu Agency.

The action is being taken for criminalizing the burning of the Bible or the Quran, said a statement by Foreign Ministry.

"As a result of recent Quran burnings, Denmark is increasingly seen in large parts of the world as a country that facilitates insulting and denigrating actions against other countries and religions," the statement added. The bill will not cover verbal or written expressions, including drawings, but it targets actions that are performed in a public place or with the purpose of wider distribution.

"These insulting and disparaging actions negatively impact the security of Danes, both abroad and at home in Denmark," said Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard.

He noted that this specifically means that "it will be a punishable criminal offense" to publicly burn for instance the Bible or the Quran.

Deputy Prime Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen noted that burning, damaging or otherwise destroying the holy scriptures of others "serves no other purpose than to provoke for the sake of provocation."

"It has put Denmark in a difficult situation abroad. The Government cannot sit idly by. Books are not to be burned – they are to be read," he added.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Lars Lookke Rasmussen expressed that Quran burnings in Denmark have reached a level "where Denmark in large parts of the world is seen as a country that supports the insult and denigration of other countries and religions."

"I am pleased that we now have a model on the table that will allow us to put a stop to the kind of insult and denigration we are currently witnessing in Denmark," added Rasmussen.

The statement said that the bill will undergo a four-week public consultation process and expected to be ready for introduction during the opening week of the forthcoming parliamentary session.

"As there is a risk that the situation may quickly change, the Government wishes to introduce the bill on 1 September 2023 so that, if necessary, it can be considered and adopted before the end of the current parliamentary session," it added.

Sweden and Denmark has met wide-range of criticism over allowing public desecration of Quran that are being held under police protection.

Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, continued to burn copies of the Quran in Swedish cities of Malmo, Norrkoping, and Jonkoping as well as in the capital Stockholm during Easter holiday last year.

On Jan. 21, he burned copy of Quran outside of the Turkish Embassy in Sweden and on Jan. 27, outside of the Turkish Embassy in Denmark.

Iraqi-born refugee Salwan Momika burned a copy of the Muslim holy book outside a mosque in the Swedish capital of Stockholm on Jan. 28, during Eid al-Adha, one of the major Islamic religious festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

On July 20, outsde of the Iraqi Embassy in Sweden, he threw a copy of Quran and the Iraqi flag on the ground and stepped on them. He later burned a Quran outside of the Swedish parliament on July 31.

Iranian immigrant Bahrami Marjan held same provocative acts in Angbybadet, Stockholm on Aug. 3

Momika, also staged another Quran burning outside the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm early in August.


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