By Md. Kamruzzaman
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – A significant number of people, mostly students, protested the burning of a copy of the Quran by a Danish-Swedish politician and condemned the Scandinavian nation's government for allowing him to carry out the act, which they considered as Islamophobic.
Rasmus Paludan, a leader of the Danish far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) who obtained Swedish nationality in 2020, burned a copy of the Muslims' holy book outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday after receiving Swedish government approval for the "Islamophobic act in the guise of free expression."
Paludan organized a number of such events in which a copy of the Quran was burned after founding the Stram Kurs in 2017, sparking worldwide criticism.
Condemnation erupted from peace-loving people, particularly Muslims, around the world in response to Paludan's latest act and the Swedish government's approval, which amounted to harming religious harmony and hurting the sentiments of approximately two billion Muslims worldwide.
Protesters gathered in Dhaka's Mirpur neighborhood and marched down the main street, chanting anti-Swedish government slogans and calling on Muslims to unite against all forms of hate-spreading.
They asked all peace activists and Muslims to boycott Swedish products, arguing that freedom of expression should never be used to harm the religious beliefs and faiths of others.
"What will happen if followers of one faith start burning copies of other people's religious books in the name of freedom of expression when world leaders are very loud and vocal about extremism and radicalism?" a speaker asked the gathering in his speech before the rally dispersed peacefully.
- Swedish government flayed
Earlier, the country's Foreign Ministry condemned the act in a statement issued Sunday evening, calling it harmful to peaceful coexistence.
“Bangladesh expresses grave concern over the act of insulting the sacred values of the Muslims all over the world in the guise of ‘freedom of expression’,” the statement said, adding that Bangladesh "strongly condemns" such acts.
Mentioning Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance, the statement added: “Bangladesh believes that the freedom of religion must be upheld and respected under any circumstances."
The government also urged people to refrain from “unwarranted provocation” in the interest of greater harmony and peaceful coexistence.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the leader of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Muslim world to take "strong action" against anti-Islam conspiracies.
“We have been observing with great concern that deep-rooted conspiracies are being plotted against Islam and Muslims in various countries of the world. As a part of the same heinous attempts, the holy Quran (copy) has been burnt in Sweden, which is a huge blow against the Muslim sentiment,” Jamaat chief and former lawmaker Mujibur Rahman said.
He also urged the Swedish government to arrest everyone involved in the burning of a copy of the holy Quran.