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4 Aug, 2023 16:34

Danish opposition parties protest plan to ban Quran-burning

Scandinavian lawmakers have suggested a legal instrument to outlaw the burning of religious texts could be introduced
Danish opposition parties protest plan to ban Quran-burning

Seven Danish political parties have issued an objection to government plans to make it illegal to desecrate copies of the Quran or any sacred texts. They argue that any moves to limit such protests are incompatible with the EU country’s guarantees to protect freedom of expression.

“All undersigned parties uphold fundamental Danish civil liberties and are of the opinion that civil liberties must always take precedence of religious dogmas,” the seven political parties said in a joint statement issued on Thursday.

They added: “The veto of the violent man must not prevail and must not set the boundaries for Danish politics and Danish democracy.”

Several recent instances in which copies of the Quran were set alight in both Denmark neighboring Sweden have prompted widespread scorn in the Muslim world.

Iran and Pakistan were among several predominantly Muslim nations to have expressed fierce condemnation of the Quran-burning protests in Scandinavia, with Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari saying last month that they amount to an “incitement to religious hatred, discrimination and attempts to provoke violence.”

Lawmakers in both Denmark and Sweden have suggested that formal laws to outlaw the burning of sacred texts could be introduced.

On Wednesday, Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson said that he was in “close dialogue” with Danish leader Mette Frederiksen regarding the matter. Kristersson added that Stockholm and Copenhagen “share the same analysis: The situation is dangerous and measures are needed to strengthen our resilience.”

However, the collective of opposition parties in Denmark views any measures that could be viewed as foreign entities dictating domestic policy as an unacceptable imposition on its affairs, the opposition statement added.

The seven parties behind the statement come from a wide political spectrum, encompassing the far-right New Right party to the far-left Red-Green Alliance. The group collectively holds 72 seats in Denmark’s 178-member parliament. The government, a coalition of three center-right and center-left parties, has a total of 88 parliamentary seats.

It was announced on Thursday that Denmark is to impose stricter controls on its borders until August 10 to combat potential security concerns presented by Quran-burning protests.