Sweden exploring measures to curb racist Quran burnings: Billström to Egypt FM

Ahram Online , Saturday 5 Aug 2023

Sweden condemns the regrettable acts of Quran burnings and is studying ways to curb these racist acts as well as various forms of intolerance towards religions and beliefs, Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström said on Friday.

Billstr m, Shoukry
Billstr m made the remarks in a phone call with Egypt s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry,


Billström made the remarks in a phone call with Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, following repeated instances of Quran burnings and desecration in Sweden, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry stressed that these incidents represent “a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of expression and a misuse of this right in a way that provokes Muslims around the world.”

Such provocative acts undermine interfaith dialogue that seeks to promote social coexistence and peace, Shoukry warned.

In recent weeks, Egypt has strongly condemned such acts, and in response, summoned both the Danish ambassador to Egypt and the chargé d’affaires at the Swedish Embassy in Cairo to address the matter.

In a recorded speech on 11 July at a meeting held by the UN Human Rights Council against the backdrop of the Quran burnings, Shoukry called for Western governments to take action against religious hatred.

Legal measures

Recent Quran burnings in Denmark and Sweden have brought wide-ranging condemnation from Muslim states and even caused diplomatic tensions.

In a statement late in July, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said he has been in close dialogue with his government as well as Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

Kristersson said Stockholm has already started analyzing the legal situation, including the Public Order Act.

The Swedish FM said in a tweet early this month that the government “is very clear in its rejection of the Islamophobic acts carried out by individuals at demonstrations in Sweden.”



Billstrom said Sweden will also examine proposals and recommendations included in the resolution on repeated Quran burning and desecration crimes adopted by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) late in July.

“We will examine these [proposals] carefully and continue our important dialogue with the OIC and its member states. We have an interest in close cooperation,” Billstrom added.

In its resolution, the OIC urged its 57 member states to “consider taking any necessary decisions and actions that they deem appropriate in their relations" with the countries where Quran burnings and desecration take place, including recalling their ambassadors in Denmark and Sweden.

For his part, Denmark's Minister of Foreign Affairs Lars Rasmussen also affirmed in a phone call with Shoukry on Friday that his government is studying several measures and legislations to prevent the recurrence of Quran burnings.

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