ASEAN FMs call Koran burning campaign blasphemy

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Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have strongly condemned the burning and desecration of the Koran, which took place in January in Sweden and the Netherlands, and consider them blasphemy, Report informs referring to the final statement adopted following the meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers in Jakarta.

“We condemned in the strongest possible terms the actions of extremist, far-right politicians in some countries to burn and desecrate the Koran last month. This act of blasphemy harms and casts a shadow on religious tolerance,” the foreign ministers said, adding that “freedom of speech must be exercised in a responsible manner.”

In January, the leader of the anti-Islamic movement Pegida Edwin Wagensveld held a rally in front of the Dutch parliament, during which he tore up the holy book of Muslims. He called his actions freedom of expression, which should be allowed in the country. Shortly before this, Rasmus Paludan, leader of the right-wing extremist Straight Course party, held a public burning of a copy of the Koran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

These actions were sharply condemned by the foreign ministries of Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, other Arab and Islamic states, as well as the Arab League, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.