Responding to a deeply anti-religious act, the UAE strongly condemned the actions of an extremist in the Netherlands who burned the Holy Quran, the sacred book of Islam, as part of a one-man protest. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed that the Emirate nation would reject all sorts of behavior that would threaten to destabilize safety and security and also that goes against the basic principles of human moral values and principles.
The ministry also said that individuals or institutions should always learn to respect religious symbols as they are a matter of sensibilities and deep-rooted belief systems.
Religious symbols must be honoured, and agitation and polarisation must be avoided
There should not be any efforts to polarize or provoke people at a time when the world should learn to stand together in unity to solve its problems. There should be positive messages of tolerance and mutual co-existence rather than hatred and extremism.
According to the Dutch Public Broadcaster, the act of intolerance took place in front of the Parliament building at The Hague when Edwin Wagensveld, the leader of the Dutch wing of German anti-Islam group Pegida burned the Holy Quran as part of a one-man protest. The incident happened three days after a similar protest done by Swedish extremist Rasmus Paludan in Stockholm on Saturday last week.
As per media reports, Wagensveld was given permission to protest by the Dutch Police on the condition that he will not burn the Holy book but during the protest, he took out pages from the Quran and torched it.
The Twitter handle Pegida posted the provocative video and soon it became viral as people started to call out the heinous incident. The video clearly shows that the Dutch Police are standing behind Wagensveld while he is burning the pages from the Holy book.
A host of Islamic and other nations have condemned the incident that happened in the Netherlands. The Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that they had called up the Dutch Ambassador to the capital Ankara and informed the Netherlands government of their discontent against the provocative act.
They also warned that the Netherlands should be more careful in the future so that these kinds of acts are not repeated. Countries like the United States and Russia also expressed their protest over the incident. Russia said that this is an act of extremism and proper measures should be taken against the culprit while the United states termed the whole incident as “disgusting and hateful”.
The UAE also protested against the Holy Quran burning incident in Sweden last week. Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, had summoned the Ambassador of Sweden to the UAE, Liselott Andersson, and communicated UAE’s displeasure against the burning of the Holy Book by extremists in Stockholm.
Minister Hashemy reinstated the UAE policy that it strongly rejects the efforts of such fringe elements who seek to disrupt the peace and security of the UAE and the world. She said that all the religious symbols and Holy books are to be respected and any form of provocation or incitement should be kept in check.
The Sweden incident created a strong wave of protests across the Globe. Turkey saw numerous gatherings in high numbers to protest against the incident. The Turkish citizens gathered in front of the Swedish Consulate in Istanbul on January 22 and burned Paludan’s photo as part of their protest.
The Turkish government had already warned the Swedish administration to not allow Rasmus Paludan to conduct his protest but Sweden went ahead and gave him permission. Paludan is the head of the far-right extremist party known as Hard Line and they are known for their extreme right political views entrenched in Islamophobia.
This is not even the first time that Paludan has been creating such communal tension in Sweden. Earlier in April last year, he had announced that a Quran-burning tour will be conducted during the holy month of Ramadan and this statement sparked riots in Sweden.
Ulf Kristersson, the Swedish Prime Minister expressed his deep sympathy towards all Muslims who had been offended by the provocative act. He said that freedom of expression is important for the functioning of democracy but at the same time, every legal act need not be an appropriate thing to do at times. Kristersson reiterated that burning books that are Holy to any community is a horrible act of violence and disrespect.
The two incidents set off a chain reaction against the two Scandinavian nations as Turkey had approached the UN regarding NATO membership of Sweden. The United States is also under the radar as they have spoken up for the first time in the Quran burning incident in Sweden and Netherlands.
Ned Price, the State Department Spokesperson said that burning a sacred book is an extremely insulting and abhorrent act. Nations like Somalia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and Pakistan have also expressed their unhappiness over the divisive incident.