OIC strongly condemns despicable act of desecration of Holy Quran in Sweden; calls upon Int’l community to stand against provocative acts

OIC strongly condemns despicable act of desecration of Holy Quran in Sweden; calls upon Int'l community to stand against provocative acts

ISLAMABAD, July 3 (APP): The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in an extraordinary meeting, held at Jeddah General Secretariat, has strongly condemned the recent despicable aggression against the sanctity of the copies of the Holy Quran, on the first day of Eid al-Adha, outside the central mosque in the capital city of Stockholm, Kingdom of Sweden.

In an open-ended meeting convened at the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chair of the 14th Islamic Summit, and Chair of the Executive Committee of the OIC, the Executive Committee deplored the recurrence of acts of desecration of the copies of the Holy Quran, and deeply regretted the issuance of a permit by the authorities allowing that action to occur.

OIC strongly condemns despicable act of desecration of Holy Quran in Sweden; calls upon Int'l community to stand against provocative acts

“Condemns all attempts to denigrate the sanctity of al Mushaf ash-Sharif as well as other sacred values and symbols of Islam under the garb of freedom of expression, which is contrary to the spirit of Articles (19) and (20) of the ICCPR; and calls upon the international community to stand against those provocative attempts,” a final communique of the meeting issued on Monday said.

It called upon all governments to fully implement their existing legal and administrative framework and adapt new legislation, if needed, consistent with their obligations under international law, norms, and standards to protect all individuals and communities against hate and violence based on religion and faith and to ensure the protection of places of worship.

The participants expressed grave concern at the increasing incidences of intolerance, discrimination, and acts of violence in the world.

It noted with concern that Islamophobia was on the rise in many parts of the world as evidenced by the increasing number of incidents of religious intolerance, negative stereotypes, hatred, and violence against Muslims.

The OIC also expressed its deep concerns by the resurgence of racist movements and far-right extremism in multiple regions of the world through repeated acts of provocation by supporters of the far-right insulting Islamic religious symbols and sanctities, including the desecration of the copies of the Holy Quran.

It also condemned any advocacy of hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence, whether through the use of printed means, audio-visual or electronic means, social media, or any other means.

The members reiterated the importance of promoting dialogue, understanding, and cooperation among religions, cultures, and civilizations for peace and harmony in the world and that spreading the values of tolerance and peace was the best way to confront hate speech, fanaticism, extremism, violence, and incitement. 

It also stressed upon the commitment made by all states under the UN Charter to promote and encourage universal respect for the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without discrimination based on race, gender, language, or religion.

“Underscoring that the exercise of the right to freedom of expression entails special duties and responsibilities in the light of Article 19 (3) and Article 20 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the role played by the exercise of those rights in countering all forms of religious intolerance,” it further added. 

It also recalled various relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which had called for global efforts to promote tolerance, peace, and dialogue among civilizations and referred to the UNGA’s Resolution 76/254 that designated 15 March as the “International Day to Combat Islamophobia”.

The OIC also recalled relevant resolutions and declarations by the Islamic Summit Conference and Council of Foreign Ministers in this regard.

The meeting requested the Secretary-General to send a letter on behalf of the OIC Member States to the Swedish government and to consider conducting an official visit to Stockholm and the European Union Commission to express the condemnation of the incident of burning the copies of the Mushaf ash-Sharif and call on them to take the necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of that criminal act under the pretext of freedom of expression.

It called upon the ambassadors of the OIC Member States in the respective capitals where vile acts against the copies of the Holy Quran and other Islamic holy symbols took place to collectively make efforts concerning the national parliaments, media, civil society organizations as well as the governmental institutions, to express the OIC’s stance and to induce the relevant authorities to take the necessary legislative actions to criminalize such attacks, cognizant of the fact that the exercise of freedom of expression carried with it special duties and responsibilities.

It also called on Muslim civil society organisations to work with their counterparts in those countries where Islamophobic attacks against the copies of Mushaf ash-Sharif and other sacred values took place to resort to local courts and exhaust domestic remedies, with the guidance of professional legal counsel, before taking their cases to international judiciary bodies, where applicable.

The OIC further reaffirmed the essential role of political commitment at the highest level towards the full and effective implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 and encouraged states to pay particular attention to the importance of criminalizing incitement to violence based on religion or belief while recognizing the positive role of open, constructive and respectful debate and interfaith dialogue in this regard.

The OIC meeting also called on the Secretary-General to send a letter to the UN Secretary-General and the Chair of the Security Council, urging them to issue statements of condemnation to reject insults to religious symbols and sanctities, which stirred hatred, promoted the growth of violent extremism and fueled terrorism, and called for mutual respect for all religions and beliefs and the promotion of a culture of peace and tolerance.

The OIC member states called for placing the desecration of copies of the Holy Quran and the Islamic symbols and sanctities on the agenda of the coordination meeting of the foreign ministers of member states on the sidelines of the upcoming UNGA in New York and the upcoming Islamic Summit in Gambia to take more measures to address this negative phenomenon against Islam and Muslims.

It welcomed the convening of an international conference on Islamophobia and Anti-Muslims Discrimination being held from 22 to 23 August in Kuala Lumpur, in coordination with the OIC General Secretariat. 

By Irfan Khan

Journalist with a baggage of 25 years of experience in national, political, judicial, constitutional and international affairs. Extensively covered events, developing news and happenings with pieces of articles and analysis.

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