Sweden is Risking Its Ties with Muslim Countries, Warns Leading Saudi Analyst

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Clarion India

DUBAI — If the Swedish government does not change its laws regarding the spread of hate, the Organization of Islamic Conference will act, Saudi geopolitical analyst Salman Al-Ansari said.

Salman Al-Ansari told this to the Arab News weekly show “Frankly Speaking.”

“If the Swedish government and its legal system don’t rectify their laws with regards to allowing extremists and radicals to spread hate, then I won’t be surprised if there will be a unanimous decision to take measures by the OIC,” he said according to Arab News.

Al-Ansari’s comments came as the OIC issued a statement on Sunday condemning in the strongest terms the burning of a copy of the Qur’an by a far-right extremist group called Danske Patrioter, or Danish Patriots, outside the Iraqi Embassy in Copenhagen on Friday.

The incident is only the latest in a spate of incidents in Denmark and Sweden that have stirred up a diplomatic storm, which now threatens the Nordic states’ relations with the Muslim world.

Earlier in the week, Salwan Momika, an Iraqi immigrant living in Sweden, desecrated the Qur’an, just weeks after he set fire to pages of the holy book outside a Stockholm mosque.

In January, Rasmus Paludan, a far-right Danish leader, also burned a copy of the Qur’an in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

Muslim leaders and governments across the Islamic world have condemned these acts, which had been permitted by local authorities ostensibly in line with the right to freedom of expression.

In a statement on Sunday, Hissein Brahim Taha, the OIC’s secretary-general, expressed his deep dissatisfaction with the repeated incidents of “transgression against Islamic sanctities,” adding that such acts “constitute incitement to religious hatred, intolerance and discrimination” that would have dangerous consequences.

“Burning the copy of any holy book, whether it’s the Holy Qu’ran, the Bible, the Torah, or any sacred book, is absolutely disgusting and unjustifiable, and it’s an action of extreme hate. If this is not hate, then what constitutes hate? This is my question,” Al-Ansari said.

He accused Swedish authorities of hypocrisy, highlighting cases of far-right activists justifiably facing prosecution for using Nazi slogans while anti-Muslim acts went unpunished.

“They are arguing that (the) action of burning the Qur’an or burning any holy book is part of freedom of expression. So, what about the Nazi slogans? That’s the question,” he said.

“But why does it only happen when it comes to Nazi slogans and not with regards to preaching hate, hate against 1.7 billion people, whether Muslims or the Christians or the Jews or any group?

“So, all we want is to have a reasonable review from the Swedish government. It’s going to be for their sake. Because at the end of the day, you don’t want to jeopardize the relationship you have with 57 Muslim nations for appeasing only a bunch of radicals and extremists who want to spread hate.”

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