Quran burnings hurt the image of Sweden in Arab, Islamic worlds: Egypt to Swedish ambassador

Amr Kandil , Sunday 20 Aug 2023

Egypt has warned that the Quran burning and desecration incidents in Sweden have damaged the image of the European country in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Mokhtar Gomaa
Egypt s Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa meets with Swedish Ambassador to Cairo H kan Emsg rd, 20 August 2023. Mokhtar Gomaa/Facebook


In a meeting with Swedish Ambassador to Cairo Håkan Emsgård on Sunday, Egypt’s Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa stressed the need for the Swedish government to quickly heal the rift caused by such incidents at the legal and social levels.

Gomaa urged the Swedish government to make serious efforts to prevent the recurrence of Quran desecration incidents, according to a specific timeframe.

The Egyptian minister said the desecration of the Quran is “an outrageous and unbearable issue that we cannot ignore, turn a blind eye to or tolerate.”

Ambassador Emsgård affirmed that Gomaa’s remarks will be conveyed to the relevant authorities in Sweden and highlighted the Swedish government's ongoing efforts to tackle the issue.

Gomaa affirmed that such incidents generate hatred between Muslims and both those who commit such acts and those who allow them, warning of the implications of such provocations.

“The greatest fear is that the issue slips out of the hands of rational and wise people, and comes to an outcome that is in nobody’s interest,” Gomaa stressed.

The minister affirmed the need for collaboration to build religious tolerance, respect for the feelings of others, and guard against offending sacred beliefs.

“Our hands will remain extended in peace, but only for those who respect our religion, beliefs, and sanctities,” Gomaa stressed.

Recent desecrations and burnings of the Quran that took place under police protection in Denmark and Sweden have sparked uproar among Muslim communities worldwide.

Both European states have recently confirmed they are exploring measures to curb the Quran burnings in the wake of wide-ranging condemnation from Muslim states which have caused diplomatic tensions.

The Swedish government also says that the incidents are harming its security situation and attracting the attention of terrorist groups.

Last week, the country raised its terror alert to four on a five-point scale, claiming that the state has become a target for terrorists.

Egypt has strongly condemned Quran burnings in the past, summoning both the Danish ambassador to Egypt and the chargé d’affaires at the Swedish Embassy in Cairo to address the matter.

Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry also made phone calls with his Swedish and Danish counterparts in early August to discuss their efforts to prevent the recurrence of these incidents.

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