Turkey denounced an Islamophobic attack in Sweden on Thursday in which protesters burned a copy of the holy Quran, characterizing it as a “disrespect”.
“We condemn the disrespect by a group of racist barbarians by burning our holy book, the Quran, in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
It a positive step that Sweden did not allow those applying for a protest permit to attain one, the ministry said, but it stressed that Turkey regrets the provocative actions of members of a Danish racist party could not be prevented, even though their aims were well-known.
“And these sick people continue to benefit from it,” it said.
Following a similar Islamophobic provocation last month, a far-right group burned a copy of the Quran in a heavily Muslim area of Sweden.
Members of the Danish far-right group, Stram Kurs, or Hard Line, burned the Muslim holy book in an illegal demonstration in the Rinkeby neighborhood.
“Unfortunately, it is seen that disrespect for Islam has become widespread and cannot be prevented in Scandinavian countries in recent years under the guise of freedom of press, art, and expression,” the ministry said.
Referring to two anti-Islamist racist attackers that killed more than 100 people in recent years, it said as long as the racists such as Anders Breivik and Brenton Tarrant are not detected and stopped in early stages, such actions would inevitably repeat.
Breivik killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, while Tarrant killed 51 Muslims in New Zealand as they prepared for Friday prayers in 2019.
“We expect Swedish authorities as well as all countries with cases of racism and Islamophobia to take all measures to fight against this disease both in the framework of European institutions and at the national level,” it urged.
Ali Erbas, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, also weighed in on Twitter. “I strongly condemn the unrelenting and provocative attack on our almighty book of the holy Quran by anti-Islamist racist groups in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden,” he said.
Erbas said it is concerning that groups continue attacks against Muslims in different European cities.
“I expect the activities of these sick-minded structures that threaten all humanity to be ended as soon as possible, and I invite the international community to a conscious fight against these structures,” he said.