Dutch Jews condemned Edwin Wagensveld, a far-right politician and head of the Islamophobic party Pegida, for recently disgracing the Quran in The Hague.
Rabbi Lody van de Kamp argued in an interview that Wagensveld’s behavior was offensive to everyone who practiced a religion, not only Islamic societies. He emphasized that the country’s penal law no longer made it illegal to offend religious beliefs, adding that this encouraged people to carry out such heinous deeds.
Van de Kamp asserted that “whichever religious belief and philosophy of life (one adheres to), all are about respecting a supreme authority. If you can’t insult a person but can freely offend religious beliefs, then this means no progress has been made in understanding what belief and philosophy mean to human beings.”
He stressed that the Quran burning was unmistakably a hate crime directed at Muslims and said that failing to stop such an act faced the risk of leading to more offences against other religious faiths.
All religious groups should come together to condemn disrespecting the Quran, said van de Kamp.
Liberal Rabbi Albert Ringer termed the incident “a terrible act” in an interview as well. He noted that far-right movements were becoming more prevalent in the Netherlands and warned that they posed a threat to Muslims, Jews, and other minorities, as well as the nation’s ability to maintain peace.
Jewish community leader Jaap Hamburger emphasized that the attack was clearly intended to stir up controversy and that there were limitations to freedom of opinion.
In a social media footage posted last week, Wagensveld was seen ripping pages out of a Quran in The Hague. The guy was then seen flaming the torn-out pages of the sacred book in a pan.
Quran Desecration and Feedbacks
The provocative act followed a related event last Saturday in which Rasmus Paludan, an extreme Swedish-Danish lawmaker, burnt a copy of the Holy Quran next to the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. The two acts set up indignation across the world.
The desecration of the Quran was denounced by the Saudi Foreign Office as “a fresh provocation of the sensibilities of millions of Muslims worldwide.”
According to the ministry, “These activities have been repeated recently in a number of European capitals under the guise of freedom of speech, without a clear reaction towards halting these practices.”
Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah, the foreign minister of Kuwait, also condemned the Quran’s desecration.
He demanded that urgent and substantial action be taken to halt these ludicrous and repugnant acts, and recurring assaults of Muslim symbols and sanctuaries, and to hold the culprits accountable.
Iran has also despised the acts believing the western world’s confrontations revealed their true intent towards the freedom of religion and faith. Iranian president called on all Muslim nations to take urgent actions.
Protestors congregated outside the Swedish and Dutch embassies in Malaysian capital to condemn the recent burning of the Quran in both nations. Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denounced “in the strongest terms” the burning of the Quran by a far-right politician in Netherlands.
Malaysian foreign ministry called Sweden’s envoy to convey the Malaysian administration’s “objection and displeasure” with Sweden for failing to intervene.