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Faith groups in Sweden stand against Quran burning, hate speech

Faith groups in Sweden stand against Quran burning, hate speech
Coordinator of Catholic group says action may be interpreted as legal, but discussion needed on amendments as many call it hate action

By Mehmet Solmaz

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AA) - Members of religious groups in Sweden have spoken out in support of Muslims after Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) burned a copy of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, under police protection.

The coordinator of the Catholic Commission for Interreligious Dialog in Sweden, Kaj Engelhart, told Anadolu that he recognized that Paludan's action was interpreted as lawful, but there was also a need to discuss whether the law should be changed, as many called it a hate action.

"Seeing this incident gave me a very bad taste. In our faith, it is not allowed to offend people of other religions. As Catholics, we are absolutely against such actions," Engelhart said.

The Jewish community also spoke out against the Islamophobic action.

Referring to the book burnings in Nazi Germany, the official Council of Swedish Jewish Communities and the AMANAH Muslim Jewish Partnership Trust said in a statement that book burnings often indicate the beginning of the normalization of hatred toward a group.

"Historically against Jews, now against Muslims," the statement said, warning that racists and extremists may once again "abuse democracy and freedom of expression to normalize hatred against one of Sweden's religious minorities by burning the Quran."

She pointed to the increasing attacks on Jews and Muslims in Sweden and expressed mutual concern.

"In a democratic society, every individual has the right to feel safe and valued. We hereby wish to express our support for the Swedish Muslim community and make it clear that any act or sign of prejudice and hatred is unacceptable," said the statement.

The Chairman of the Swedish Islamic Federation, Tahir Akan, told Anadolu that Muslims were unable to make their voices heard and that their concerns were, unfortunately, being overlooked.

He said the community should unite and advance its fight against anti-Muslim prejudice academically and legally.

Commenting on a UN report that said there is systematic racism in Sweden, Akan said: "The group that suffers most from this general trend is the Muslim community. Especially in matters of employment and other everyday matters, Muslims, unfortunately, experience racism.”

"Unfortunately, we see that our politicians are far from recognizing this problem. What we could do is to educate and train our youth to bring a change for all humanity," he added.

source: News Feed
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