Another Islamophobic provocation

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UNFORTUNATELY, there is no end to Islamophobic provocations in Europe. In the latest appalling act, Rasmus Paludan, the leader of a far right political party, burnt a copy of the holy Quran in the Swedish capital of Stockholm.

Surrounded by police, Paludan set fire to the holy book with a lighter following a long diatribe of almost an hour, in which he attacked Islam and immigration in Sweden.

In fact it is not the first time but in the past also the far right leader resorted to such disgraceful acts with complete impunity.

Such senseless acts hurt the religious sentiments of over 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

These actions cannot be justified in any manner as freedom of expression or opinion also carries responsibilities under international human rights law such as obligation not to carry out hate speech and incite people to violence.

There has been a strong reaction from several Muslim countries against the desecration of holy Quran with Turkiye cancelling a visit by Swedish Defence Minister.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu vented his anger at Swedish authorities failure to ban the protest, adding it is a racist action.

Other Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan also condemned the act. We should also lodge a strong protest with the Swedish ambassador conveying in strong words the sentiments of Muslims on it.

It is for the Swedish government to act against such elements according to the law and do not allow such actions in future as doing so amounts to encouraging hate crimes.

In recent years, a serious upsurge has been seen in Islamophobic acts in European countries ranging from desecration of holy Quran and holy personalities of Islam to prohibiting Muslim women to wear religious dress at workplace, schools and in public generally.

There have also been incidents where Muslims have been attacked and killed. This is a dangerous trend.

In fact Europe is playing with fire. The Muslims can tolerate anything but not desecration of anything relating to their religion.

International community must show common resolve against Islamophobia and xenophobia and work towards promoting inter-faith harmony and peaceful co-existence.