UPDATE - Thousands protest in Pakistan over desecration of holy Quran in Sweden

UPDATE - Thousands protest in Pakistan over desecration of holy Quran in Sweden

South Asian nation observes Quran Sanctity Day on call by Prime Minister Sharif


By Islamuddin Sajid / Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan/ ISTANBUL (AA) - Thousands of people marched across Pakistan on Friday against the recent burning of a copy of Quran in Sweden, as the South Asian nation observed Youm-e-Taqaddus-e-Quran, or Quran Sanctity Day.

Demonstrations and rallies were taken out in major cities, including Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar, against the desecration of the Quran by Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old man of Iraqi origin, in front of a Stockholm mosque on June 28.

Protesters said desecration of the Quran is unacceptable, chanted slogans against the Swedish government, and called for boycott of products from the Nordic country.

The act, deliberately timed to coincide with Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, has sparked widespread condemnation from several countries, including Türkiye, with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation calling for collective measures to prevent such acts.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had urged the nation for peaceful demonstrations to register their protest.

“When it comes to the [matter of] Quran, the entire nation is united. The entire Muslim ummah is disturbed by the incident in Sweden,” Sharif said on Twitter. Sharif also called on the European nation to clarify its stand on Quran burning. “Quran is in our hearts. The Quran is not only a recitation for us but a guideline for living,” he added.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the sacrilegious act was “another example of the rising Islamophobic mindset that seeks to dehumanize and denigrate our faith.”

“It is an act of blatant provocation to try inflame sentiments and undermine Islam as a religion of peace, tolerance, and acceptance,” he tweeted, adding that Pakistan will raise this issue at the UN Human Rights Council next week.

Sirajul Haq, the chief of mainstream religious party Jamaat-e-Islami, said such incidents threaten world peace. In a statement, he said the West cannot ignore the power and resources of the Islamic world, and called for effective international legislation to prevent blasphemy and desecration of the Quran.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch had raised the issue with Swedish charge d’affaires in Islamabad on Thursday.

The country's parliament also adopted a unanimous resolution urging Sweden to take “appropriate steps” against the perpetrators involved in the desecration.

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