Far-right Group Burns Qurans in Front of Muslim Embassies in Denmark
A far-right group called Danish Patriots has sparked outrage and condemnation after burning copies of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, in front of the Egyptian and Turkish embassies in Copenhagen on Tuesday.
The group, which describes itself as “ultra-nationalist” and “anti-Islam”, staged similar Quran burnings on Monday and last week in front of the Iraqi embassy, as well as in neighbouring Sweden in the past month.
The Quran burnings have drawn strong reactions from Muslim-majority countries, such as Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, which have called on the European Union to take action against the “hate crime” and “despicable attack” on Islam.
Denmark’s government has also denounced the Quran burnings as “provocative and shameful acts”, but said it does not have the power to prevent non-violent demonstrations, citing the country’s laws on freedom of speech and expression.
Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said he had a “constructive phone call” with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein on Tuesday, and reiterated Denmark’s condemnation of the Quran burnings. He also emphasized that all protests must remain peaceful.
However, some legal experts have argued that the Quran burnings could be considered a violation of Denmark’s blasphemy law, which prohibits public insults or mockery of religions. The law was last used in 2017, when a man was fined for burning a Quran in his backyard.
The Danish Patriots group has claimed that its Quran burnings are a form of “artistic expression” and a way of protesting against what it perceives as the “Islamization” of Europe. The group has also announced plans to hold more Quran burnings in the future.