On Wednesday, China criticized Sweden following a recent incident that occurred involving the burning of several copies of the Muslim holy book called the Quran.
“Freedom of speech cannot be a reason to incite racial or cultural discrimination and tear society apart,” said Wang Wenbin, who serves as a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, referencing the event that brought on criticism from many groups, especially throughout the Muslim community.
“We hope Sweden can earnestly respect the religious beliefs of minority groups including Muslims,” Wang added, as reported in the Chinese daily Global Times.
The leader of the far-right group Stram Kurs, also called Hard Line, Rasmus Paludan burned a copy of the Muslim holy book in the southern city of Linkoping in Sweden. He then threatened to burn copies of the Quran at other rallies in the future.
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and a group of additional Muslim countries and organizations condemned Paludan’s actions, saying the act was a provocation and incitement against Muslims as a whole. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation was among the groups to criticize the burning of the Qurans.
Chief of that group, Hissein Brahim Taha denounced “the provocative actions of burning copies of the Holy Quran during anti-Muslim demonstrations, which have been taking place in Linkoping, Norrkoping, and other cities in Sweden.”
The pan-Muslim group added that the burning of the book raises Muslim concerns of “the alarming trend of Islamophobia perpetuated by extreme right supporters.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR