Burning sacred books has nothing to do with freedom of expression, Christian and Jewish religious leaders in Denmark said, denouncing the recent antics of extreme-right politician Rasmus Paludan.
Paludan, a far-right Danish-Swedish politician, has drawn global condemnation after torching copies of Islam’s holy book the Quran outside a mosque in Copenhagen and the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm this month.
Türkiye has led the chorus of anger from the Muslim world, criticizing Danish and Swedish authorities for allowing an “Islam-hating charlatan” to carry out an act that “clearly constitutes a hate crime.”
People who burn holy books such as the Quran, Bible, or Torah are “idiots,” said Peter Fischer-Moller, who served as the bishop in Roskilde, Denmark from 2008 until last year.
“Paludan is someone who just wants to provoke people. He knows that the only way to really provoke our Muslim brothers is to burn the Quran,” Fischer-Moller told Anadolu.
Emphasizing that the extremist politician has no public support, he said Paludan is an “ignorant and crazy person” not worthy of any attention and should always be ignored.
“Like me, the Danish government knows that he is an idiot. No one respects him. He is trying to gain attention, but he is not worth listening to,” said Fischer-Moller.
Responding to his provocations will only serve his purpose, he added.
While everyone has a right to freedom of expression in Denmark, using this freedom to burn a holy book is simply stupid, he said.
Jair Melchior, the chief rabbi in Denmark, also viewed Paludan’s antics as a popularity stunt.
“A demented extremist like Paludan should not be given any attention. I have great respect for Muslims in Denmark for not responding to his provocation,” he said.