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EU to continue talks with OIC after Quran burnings

August 8, 2023 at 3:39 pm

European Commission Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano on March 05, 2020 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images]

The European Union will continue talks with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to “promote tolerance and mutual respect” after a series of recent Quran burnings in northern countries of the bloc, an official said today.

Speaking to reporters at a news briefing, spokesperson for foreign affairs Peter Stano confirmed that the EU Commission is “in regular contact” with the OIC.

He explained that officials from the commission and the OIC’s Brussels representation hold regular talks “to understand the next steps” after several incidents of Quran burning or desecration recently took place in Denmark and Sweden.

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Stano stressed that these actions are “not EU policy” but “irresponsible acts of irresponsible individuals who are interested in sowing discord and troubles, and divide us as communities.”

The EU is ready to continue discussions with the OIC “because this is the time to stand together and reinforce our efforts to promote tolerance and mutual respect,” he added.

Islamophobic figures or groups have repeatedly carried out Quran burnings and similar desecration attempts in Northern Europe in recent months, drawing outrage from Muslim countries and the wider community.

In late July, Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said he was in “close dialogue” with his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen, stressing that both countries recognise that “the situation is dangerous and measures are needed to strengthen our resilience.”

While Kristersson has ruled out any sweeping changes to Sweden’s freedom of expression laws, Denmark’s government has said it is “exploring the possibility of intervening in special situations,” but only “within the framework of the constitutionally protected freedom of expression.”

The UN General Assembly, meanwhile, adopted a resolution on 25 July that terms all acts of violence against holy books a violation of international law.

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