Denmark Seeks Limits on Protests Involving Holy Quran Burnings

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COPENHAGEN – The Danish government said on Sunday it would explore legal means of stopping protests involving the burning of holy texts in certain circumstances, citing security concerns following backlash over such incidents that saw the Holy Quran desecrated in Denmark and Sweden.

Noting that such protests played into the hands of extremists, the government wants to “explore” intervening in situations where “other countries, cultures, and religions are being insulted, and where this could have significant negative consequences for Denmark, not least with regard to security,” it said in a statement from the foreign ministry.

“This must of course be done within the framework of the constitutionally protected freedom of expression and in a manner that does not change the fact that freedom of expression in Denmark has a very broad scope,” it added, stressing it is one of the country’s most important values.

Several recent protests involving desecrations of the Holy Quran have raised diplomatic tensions throughout the Middle East and the two Nordic countries.

The Danish government noted that the protests have “reached a level where Denmark, in many parts of the world across continents, is being viewed as a country that facilitates insult and denigration of the cultures, religions, and traditions of other countries.”

It added that the “primary purpose” of some of the actions had been to provoke and “could have significant consequences.”

Both Danish and Swedish envoys have been summoned to a slew of Middle Eastern nations.

In a separate statement, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said he had been in close contact with his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen, and that a similar process was already underway in Sweden.

“We have also started to analyse the legal situation already… in order to consider measures to strengthen our national security and the security of Swedes in Sweden and around the world,” Kristersson said in a post to Instagram.

Saudi Arabia and Iraq have called for a meeting, expected to be held on Monday, of the Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to address the Holy Quran’s desecration in both Sweden and Denmark. -AFP

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