China on Wednesday slammed Sweden after a recent incident involving the burning of copies of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, Anadolu News Agency reports.
“Freedom of speech cannot be a reason to incite racial or cultural discrimination and tear society apart,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, referring to the incident that sparked widespread condemnation in the Muslim world.
“We hope that Sweden can sincerely respect the religious beliefs of minority groups, including Muslims,” Wang said, according to the Chinese daily, World times.
Last week, Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right group Stram Kurs (Hard Line), burned a copy of the Muslim holy book in the southern Swedish town of Linkoping. He also threatened to burn copies of the Quran at future gatherings.
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Turkey, Saudi Arabia and many Arab and Muslim countries and organizations have condemned the burning of the Quran, calling it a provocation and incitement against Muslims.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is among those who have strongly condemned the incident.
Its leader, Hissein Brahim Taha, denounced “the provocative actions of burning copies of the Holy Quran during anti-Muslim demonstrations, which took place in Linkoping, Norrkoping and other cities in Sweden”.
The pan-Muslim organization said the fire had raised concerns among Muslims about “the alarming trend of Islamophobia perpetuated by far-right supporters”.