A supporter of Pakistan Markazi Muslim League party chants slogans during a rally against the burning of Quran, the Muslim holy book, by a Danish anti-islam activist, in Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. AP
Al-Azhar's call for boycott, the statement added, is a proper response to the governments of the two countries that have offended 1.5 billion Muslims.
On Monday, Edwin Wagensveld, leader of the Dutch chapter of the German far-right group Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamicisation of the Occident (PEGIDA), tore apart pages of Islam's holy book and walked over them in an anti-Islam protest.
The incident in the Dutch city is the second in Europe in less than a week after Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line, had burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday.
In its statement, Al-Azhar criticised the Dutch and Swedish governments for "protecting the barbaric crimes" committed under the "specious inhumane and immoral banner of their so-called ‘freedom of expression.’”
They ought to call it the dictatorship of chaos and evil manners against civilised nations adhering to Allah and the guidance of heaven, the statement continued.
Al-Azhar added that all Arab and Muslim peoples should join the boycott and educate children, youth, and women about it. Failure to participate in the boycott is a failure to support the religion chosen for them by Allah, it noted.
"These deviants" will never appreciate the value of the religion – about which they know nothing and which they provoke its Muslim followers through mocking it – or be deterred unless they face material and economic challenges, Al-Azhar said.
This is the only language they know, Al-Azhar said. “They venerate nothing but the laws of abundance, production, and consumption.”
The statement concluded by a verse from the Quran: “They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but they, of the Hereafter, are unaware.”
On Tuesday, the Egyptian foreign ministry condemned in a statement the “disgraceful incident” in the Netherlands a few days after condemning the incident in Sweden, warning that the incidents fuel hate speech.
"The disgraceful incident [of Netherlands] goes beyond freedom of expression, violates Muslim sanctities, and fuels hate speech between religions and peoples in a way that threatens communal security and stability," the foreign ministry's statement read on Tuesday.
On Saturday, the ministry warned that this “disgraceful act [of Sweden] provokes the feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world.”
“These extremist practices are inconsistent with the values of respect of others, freedom of belief, human rights and human fundamental freedoms,” the ministry stressed.