Top UN official condemns desecration of Holy Quran in Sweden


UNITED NATIONS, August 29 (APP):The top official for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Moratinos, has condemned as “despicable and totally unacceptable nor justifiable” Friday’s burning of the Holy Quran by far-right extremists in the Swedish city of Malmo.

In a statement issued on Saturday at UN Headquarters in New York, UNAOC’s High-Representative Moratinos said that such “deplorable acts perpetrated by hate-mongers including by far-right extremists and other radical groups incite violence and tear apart the fabric of our communities.”

These acts, he said, were an affront to the objectives and values embraced by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations which works on the promotion of mutual respect and understanding and strengthening intercultural and inter religious dialogue.

The High-Representative reiterated that the desecration of sacred books and places of worship as well as religious symbols should be vehemently repudiated by followers of all faiths.

In this regard, he called on religious leaders across the faith spectrum to renew their denunciation of all forms of violence based on religion or belief.

The High-Representative also recalled the United Nations General Assembly resolution 73/164 on combatting intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence against persons based on religion or belief and the United Nations Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites led by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, which provides an overarching framework and a set of recommendations including strengthening religious pluralism and promoting mutual respect and human dignity.

According to media reports citing police officials, far-right extremists burned a copy of the Holy Quran in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, sparking riots and unrest after more than 300 people gathered to protest.

This happened on Friday after an anti-Muslim Danish politician was blocked from attending the same rally and banned from entering Sweden for two years.

Rasmus Paludan, who leads the far-right Danish anti-immigration party Hard Line, was due to travel to Malmo to speak at that event, which was being held on the same day as the Friday prayers.

Paludan last year attracted media attention and incited controversy for burning the Holy Quran wrapped in bacon. The protests in Malmo escalated into further violence as the evening wore on, according to the media reports.

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