Sweden morphing into prison for Muslims: human rights chief 

April 19, 2022 - 21:22

TEHRAN – A senior Iranian human rights official has condemned sacrilege to the Holy Quran in Sweden, saying the country in turning into a prison for Muslims.

The official, Kazem Gharibabadi, who is Vice-President of the Judiciary for International Affairs and Secretary General of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, said religious intolerance is spreading across Europe. 

“Sacrilege to religious sanctities is under no circumstances whatsoever acceptable. Religious intolerance is raging across Europe; and now, Sweden is morphing into a prison for Muslims with the support of the government,” Gharibabadi said on Twitter.

The tweet came after a Danish-Swedish extremist burned the Holy Quran which enraged Muslims all over the world. 

“Seems they’ve missed Medieval Inquisition!” Gharibabadi quipped. 

On Wednesday afternoon, a number of Iranian university students gathered in front of the Swedish embassy in Tehran to protest against the violation of the sanctity of the Quran.

The student assembly began with the recitation of verses from the holy Quran, and the assembled students called for the prosecution of those involved in burning the holy book in Sweden.

University students participating in the gathering carried several placards denouncing the sacrilege, some of which read: “The Prophet and the Quran are red lines.”

Also, the Cultural Committee of the Iranian parliament condemned, in a statement issued Monday, the insult to the Quran in Sweden.

“In today's seemingly civilized world, there are now and then indications of the stinking and unclean interior of the wicked. And this is not the first time that the scene of burning the Holy Quran in the heart of Europe and the repetition of the previous insults to Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa (may God bless him and his family) appeared under the pretext of freedom of expression,” the statement said. 

It added, “The recent insane, deliberate and disgusting insult to the Holy Quran in Sweden, which can only be considered an ignorant move by a few worthless extremist elements, will not be the end point of the enemies of Islam's enmity towards the sacred Sharia and the eternal human miracle.”

Abdulsalam Karimi, adviser to the President on Ethnic and Religious Minorities, issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the burning of the Quran in Sweden. 

“Unfortunately, the burning of the Holy Quran and the desecration of the Muslim holy book was repeated by an extremist group in Sweden. This disgraceful and insulting act is immoral and condemned,” the advisor said, adding, “Today, the human world needs peace, tolerance, rationality and solidarity. Such abominable and degrading acts lead to incitement to war, violence and extremism, irrationality and hatred.”

Karimi called on thinkers and writers to condemn the sacrilegious act. “For this reason, the leaders of monotheistic religions, thinkers, writers and believers in the dialogue of cultures and religions are supposed to confront violence against religion along with religious violence,” he said. 

Karimi pointed to a Hadith from Imam Ali (AS) which says: “People are the enemy of what they are ignorant of.”

Karimi noted, “Just as insulting and humiliating individuals is contrary to the principle of human dignity, so is insulting the sanctities of religions contrary to human rights, tolerance, and freedom of expression and thought.”

He added, “According to Rumi, this great Iranian mystic, ‘until there is peace inside man, there will be no peace in the outside world’.”

Earlier, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh had made comments in reaction to the sacrilege of the Quran in one of Sweden’s cities.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns setting the Holy Quran on fire in the Swedish city of Linkoping by a Danish racist and extremist element, which took place under the pretext of freedom of expression with the support of Sweden’s police,” Khatibzadeh said.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said the intentional repetition of this insulting move in the holy month of Ramadan hurts the feelings of Muslims in Sweden and across the world.

“This act of disrespect is a clear instance of hatemongering and is in violation of freedom of speech and must be condemned by all those who believe in coexistence and dialogue among religions,” he added.

“While we hold the Swedish government accountable, we are waiting for the immediate, strong and clear reaction of this country against the perpetrators of this insulting act and transparent and practical steps to prevent such moves from being repeated,” he said. 

Following the recent events in Sweden that included the burning of Quran by Rasmus Paludan, the leader of a far-right group in the city of Linkoping, the Swedish chargé d'affaires was summoned, in the absence of the country’s ambassador, by the director of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Western Europe Division III.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry official conveyed the Islamic Republic’s strong protest to the Swedish diplomat against the sacrilegious move by the foregoing person that was done under the pretext of freedom of speech and with the support of the Swedish police.

The director of Western Europe Division III of the Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned this blasphemous move during the holy month of Ramadan and reminded the Swedish government of its responsibility. The Iranian diplomat also called for immediate and decisive action by the Swedish government to end any desecration of the Holy Quran and give assurances that similar events will not take place in the future.

He described the defiling of the sanctities of more than two billion Muslims of the world and hurting their feelings as the worst form of abusing freedom of speech, saying this regrettable event that happened under the protection of the Swedish police, tarnished Sweden’s image among the world Muslims.

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