Creating new perspectives since 2009

US condemns Quran burning in Sweden but defends act as 'freedom of expression'

June 30, 2023 at 3:25 pm

A man burns a Quran and covers it with bacon at the Stockholm mosque on June 28, 2023 in Stockholm, Sweden [Nils Petter Nilsson/Getty Images]

The US State Department, on Thursday, condemned the burning of a copy of the Quran in Sweden but said it demonstrates, by the issue of a permit, the support for freedom of expression, Anadolu Agency reports.

State Department spokesperson, Matthew Miller, said at his press briefing that the US is “deeply concerned by the act,” but supports freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly as elements of democracy.

“We believe that demonstration creates an environment of fear that will impact the ability of Muslims and members of other religious minority groups from freely exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief in Sweden,” said Miller.

READ: Iran summons Sweden chargé d’affaires over Quran burning

“We also believe that issuing the permit for this demonstration supports freedom of expression and is not an endorsement of the demonstration’s actions,” he added.

Miller also concluded that “we can both believe that people have a right to commit these acts and believe that they are deplorable at the same time”.

On Wednesday, a person identified as Salwan Momika burned a copy of the Muslim Holy Book under police protection in front of the Stockholm Mosque.

The extremist’s provocative act was timed to coincide with Eid Al-Adha, one of the major Islamic religious festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide.

The “crime” of burning a Quran copy elicited widespread condemnation from the Islamic world, including Turkiye, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Senegal, Morocco and Mauritania.