By Betul Yuruk
NEW YORK (AA) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the Swedish government Tuesday to condemn the recent burning of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.
''While CAIR does not hold the government of Sweden responsible for this act of hate, Prime Minister (Ulf) Kristersson’s statement does not clearly convey that the government of Sweden unequivocally rejects Islamophobia as a form of hate and bigotry,'' the Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization said in a letter sent to the Swedish Ambassador to the US, Karin Olofsdotter.
''Unfortunately, this Quran burning incident is not an isolated act of Islamophobia in Sweden. CAIR and the American Muslim community, as well as those concerned about religious freedom globally, remain deeply concerned about the increasing number of media, academic, and government reports detailing the continuing rise of Islamophobia and related anti-Muslim bias incidents and hate crimes in Sweden.''
On Saturday, Kristersson tweeted that "freedom of expression is a fundamental part of democracy. But what is legal is not necessarily appropriate. Burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act. I want to express my sympathy for all Muslims who are offended by what has happened in Stockholm today."
Rasmus Paludan, leader of the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party, burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday under police protection and with permission from the Swedish government, resulting in a wave of condemnations from across the Arab and Islamic world.