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Respect religious beliefs of Muslims, China tells Sweden

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin speaks at the Foreign Ministry briefing in Beijing on November 9, 2020 [GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images]
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin speaks at the Foreign Ministry briefing in Beijing on November 9, 2020 [GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images]

China, on Wednesday, criticised Sweden after a recent incident took place 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," said Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry, referring to the incident that triggered widespread condemnation across the Muslim world.

"We hope Sweden can earnestly respect the religious beliefs of minority groups, including Muslims," Wang said, according to the Chinese daily, Global Times.

Last week, Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) group, burned a copy of the Muslim holy book in Sweden's southern Linkoping city. He also threatened to burn copies of the Quran in future rallies.

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Turkiye, Saudi Arabia and a host of Arab and Muslim countries and organisations have condemned the Quran burning, terming the act as provocation and incitement against Muslims.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was among those that strongly condemned the incident.

Its chief, Hissein Brahim Taha, denounced "the provocative actions of burning copies of the Holy Quran during anti-Muslim demonstrations, which have been taking place in Linkoping, Norrkoping and other cities in Sweden."

The pan-Muslim organisation said the burning raised Muslim concerns of "the alarming trend of Islamophobia perpetuated by extreme right supporters."

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