Setting ablaze the Islamic holy book has become a part of growing political rhetoric among far-right movements across Europe.

Members of a Danish far-right group, Patrioterne Gar Live, gathered outside Türkiye’s embassy in Copenhagen, displayed anti-Muslim placards and burned a copy of the Quran along with the Turkish national flag, while broadcasting it live to their Facebook page. 

The hateful act last week drew a sharp condemnation from Ankara the very next day, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry saying it will never accept such “vile actions being allowed under the guise of freedom of expression”.

“This act, which was carried out in Ramadan, has once again clearly revealed that Islamophobia, discrimination and xenophobia have reached an alarming level in Europe and that no lessons have been learned from the past,” the ministry stated.

Türkiye was not alone in denouncing the act, aimed at hurting the sentiments of billions of Muslims across the world, as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Morocco and Pakistan, too, voiced their condemnations. 

“Saudi Arabia condemns and denounces in the strongest terms the burning of the Holy Quran by an extremist group in Denmark in front of the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen,” the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement. 

“The Kingdom stresses the need to consolidate the values of dialogue, tolerance and respect, and reject everything that would spread hatred, extremism and exclusion,” it added.

READ MORE: Türkiye warns of dangerous dimensions of religious intolerance in Europe

Meanwhile, the UAE affirmed its “permanent rejection of all practices aimed at destabilising security in contravention of human and moral values and principles.” 

The country’s foreign ministry stressed “the need to respect religious symbols and to avoid incitement and polarisation at a time when the world must work together to spread the values of tolerance and co-existence, and reject hatred and extremism.” 

READ MORE: The burning of the Quran – Why Sweden is headed for disaster

Politicising anti-Muslim hate 

The Denmark incident is the latest in a growing trend in Europe where far-right groups use freedom of expression as an excuse to carry out hateful acts under the protection of the state. 

Over the past couple of months, Türkiye has come under increasing attack by the European far-right since Ankara raised concerns over countries such as Sweden providing safe havens to members and sympathisers of terror groups. 

Earlier in January, a far-right Danish-Swedish politician burned copies of the Quran on at least two occasions, first outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm and then in front of a mosque in Denmark, drawing strong condemnations from Muslims around the world. 

The frequency of the events forced Türkiye to issue a strongly-worded statement, showing its concerns about “the dangerous dimensions of religious intolerance and hatred in Europe”. 

“Europe tolerating such heinous acts that offend the sensitivities of millions of people threaten the practice of peaceful coexistence while at the same time provoking racist, xenophobic and anti-Islamic attacks that are an everyday occurrence in Europe,” Ankara said. 

It criticised governments “that remain unresponsive” in the face of such actions that “marginalise Muslims who are an integral part of European society” and urged such countries to do better by not showing support as, therefore, “the universal values they claim to defend are trampled underfoot”. 

The Turkish National Defence Ministry also condemned “the vile, barbaric, and disgusting attack” in Denmark targeting the Quran and the Turkish flag.

The ministry said Danish authorities should take immediate action against the perpetrators and prevent further provocations that threaten social harmony and peaceful coexistence. 

The “wrongful attitude” of Denmark, which is also a NATO ally, is against both the spirit of alliance and universal values, it said, adding that Denmark should immediately find those responsible for committing this hate crime. 

READ MORE: How Denmark is ‘othering’ its Muslim population

Source: TRTWorld and agencies