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28 Jan, 2023 19:06

Russia condemns second ‘sacrilegious’ Koran-burning

Copies of the holy book were destroyed in front of two diplomatic missions and a mosque in Denmark
Russia condemns second ‘sacrilegious’ Koran-burning

The Russian embassy in Copenhagen condemned on Friday what it called the “permissiveness” of Danish authorities, after an anti-Islam activist burned copies of the Koran in front of a mosque, the Turkish embassy, and the Russian consulate in the Danish capital. These kinds of actions have nothing to do with freedom of speech, but only serve as ignorant provocations, the mission said.

“The possibility for such actions should be completely ruled out and their organizers should be brought to justice,” the embassy said in a statement on Telegram. “Public mockery of religious feelings…is not a manifestation of freedom of speech and democracy but a blatant and ignorant provocation aimed at stirring up religious tensions and inter-civilizational conflict.”

The comment was spurred by the actions of Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish lawyer who heads the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party in Denmark. He torched a total of three copies of the Islamic holy book on Friday.

Paludan said he was doing so in “disgust at the ideology and religion of Islam.” The activist also told Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper he would continue burning Korans in front of the Turkish diplomatic mission in the Danish capital until Ankara consents to Sweden’s accession to NATO.

The Turkish embassy in Copenhagen condemned Friday’s protest as a “hate crime.” Authorities in Ankara also summoned the Danish ambassador.

Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said that his nation “has a good relationship with Türkiye, and this case does not change that.” The Nordic state’s authorities still urged Danes in Türkiye to exercise caution and avoid any demonstrations or mass gatherings.

Last week, Paludan burned a Koran in Stockholm. Sweden condemned the action but still permitted it, citing freedom of speech. Russia also condemned the act.

The decision angered Ankara, which blasted Stockholm’s lack of “respect” and, in turn, indefinitely suspended a trilateral mechanism meeting with Sweden and Finland, leaving their plans to join NATO in limbo.

The two Nordic nations need the unanimous support of all of the military bloc’s current member states to join. While most have backed the bids, Türkiye and Hungary have yet to do so.

Ankara previously made its consent contingent on Stockholm and Helsinki lifting arms embargoes imposed on Türkiye. Sweden and Finland should also stop harboring those considered terrorists by the Turkish authorities, Ankara demanded.