Grand Ayatollah Sistani slams desecration of Holy Quran in Sweden, Called upon UN to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such acts

wilayattimes (Iraq)

Baghdad | WTNS | June 30:The office of Iraq’s top religious authority has urged the United Nations to prevent desecration of Islamic sanctities following repeated acts of sacrilege in Sweden.

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Sistani, the prominent Marja in Iraq, described the desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden as insulting and emphasized that freedom of speech in no way justifies violation of sanctity of Quran and promotion of extremism.

As per the reports of Wilayat Times News Service, the office sent a letter to the UN Secretary General António Guterres on Thursday to voice the religious authority’s condemnation of a Wednesday event in in front of the Stockholm Mosque in which a man had insulted the Quran under the protection and support of the country’s police.

“This disgraceful behavior has occurred more than once in different countries in recent years, but it is noticeable that this time it took place with an official permit from the Swedish police, claiming that it is a requirement of respect for freedom of expression,” reads the letter published on Thursday.

“However, it is certain that respect for freedom of expression does not justify permitting such a shameful act, which represents a flagrant attack on the sanctities of more than two billion Muslims in the world, and creates an environment conducive to the spread of extremist ideas and wrong practices,” it added.

“The Supreme Religious authority condemns what happened and calls on the United Nations to take effective steps to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, press countries to reconsider legislations that allow such occurrences, and call for establishing the values of peaceful coexistence between followers of different religions and intellectual backgrounds based on caring for rights and mutual respect for all.”

The act of desecration which coincided the Muslim festivity of Eid al-Adha has been strongly condemned by Muslim nations from across the world.

Saudi Arabia, which hosted around 1.8 million Hajj pilgrims, denounced the Quran burning, with the foreign ministry calling it part of “hateful and repeated attacks” on Islam.

The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC] said it would hold an “emergency meeting” to discuss the situation.

Islamic Republic of Iran joined in the condemnation, with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian saying the Quran burning was an “insult” against “religious sanctities”. “Calling these behaviours freedom and democracy only encourage terrorism and extremism,” he warned in a tweet.

Egypt called the Quran burning a “disgraceful act provoking the feelings of Muslims” as they mark Eid, while the Cairo-based Arab League branded it an “assault on the core of our Islamic faith”.

The United Arab Emirates Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the Swedish ambassador and “stressed that Sweden disregarded its international responsibilities and demonstrated a lack of respect for social values”.

Kuwait said perpetrators of “hostile acts” must be brought to justice and “prevented from using the principle of freedoms as a ploy to justify hostility against Islam or any holy faith”.

“This new offensive and irresponsible act disregards the feelings of more than a billion Muslims,” the emirate said. Bahrain said that “insulting religions is inconsistent with religious freedom… and generates hatred, extremism and violence”.

Libya’s Foreign Ministry said such action “contradicts international efforts aimed at bolstering tolerance and moderation, and rejecting all forms of extremism”.

In neighbouring Tunisia, the Foreign Ministry denounced an “odious crime”, while Morocco summoned Sweden’s charge d’affaires in Rabat and recalled its ambassador over “these repeated provocations, committed under the complacent gaze of the Swedish government”.

Palestine’s Foreign Ministry denounced a “flagrant attack on human rights, values of tolerance, acceptance of others, democracy and peaceful coexistence”.

Further afield, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said it “strongly condemns the despicable act”, while Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he was “disgusted and appalled” by the Quran burning in front of a mosque.