In response to recent Quran burnings and threats to burn a Torah during demonstrations in Sweden, Swedish Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer has pledged to examine legal and legislative possibilities to ban the desecration of holy books in the country.
The move comes after Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA), called on the Swedish government to take action against such vile acts.
Strömmer conveyed his concern regarding the offensive and disrespectful nature of desecrating sacred texts. In a letter to Margolin, he emphasized that while the authorities and courts decide on the legality of individual requests to demonstrate, a lawful act may still be inappropriate and provocative. The minister clarified that such acts by individuals attending demonstrations do not reflect the Swedish government's opinions.
Minister: Quran burning does not reflect the Swedish government's opinions
"The Swedish government is closely monitoring developments both nationally and internationally in response to recent events," Strömmer pledged, highlighting their ongoing analysis of the legal situation.
Margolin expressed gratitude for the minister's commitment and highlighted the need to close loopholes that allow the exploitation of constitutional rights to incite division. He underlined that the right to freedom of protest should not infringe on others' fundamental rights of faith and traditions, and he strongly condemned any violence or vandalism in response to such incidents.
Last week, Jews and Muslims from around the globe came together at a virtual rally hosted by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM). The rally was organized in response to recent acts of hatred, including the burning of the Quran and threats to burn the Torah and Christian Bible. The event brought together two dozen distinguished religious leaders and grassroots activists from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Israel, United Arab Emirates, India, and Panama, among others, to denounce the desecration of sacred texts and promote mutual respect.
The distressing news from Europe in recent weeks, with incidents of Quran burnings and threats to other holy texts, has posed challenges to freedom of religion and belief. Thousands of viewers joined the virtual gathering online to witness this timely display of intercommunal coexistence and harmony. CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa expressed the urgent need to reinforce the bonds of interfaith solidarity and friendship between Jewish and Muslim communities worldwide, emphasizing that despicable provocations aimed at inciting hatred must be met with demonstrations of mutual respect, understanding, and love. He urged everyone to stand together as allies, refusing to let hate prevail.