Condemnation of the Burning of the Qur’an as an “Expression of Freedom of Speech”
JUSA Press Statement
The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa joins the many voices of states, Islamic bodies and individuals who have expressed revulsion and have condemned a recent sacrilegious stunt by Rasmus Paludan. Paludan, a Swedish far-right extremist, burnt a copy of the Noble Qur’an, in front of Türkiye’s embassy in Stockholm.
Time and time again, Western capitals insist that Muslims must exercise restraint and be tolerant. Meanwhile, with full knowledge of the sensibilities and matters sacrosanct, symbols of Islam are caricatured, demeaned and profaned. With reports indicating that the incident was part of a state-sanctioned protest, the Swedish prime minister’s characterisation of Paludan’s hateful exploit as “deeply disrespectful” rings hollow.
The Noble Qur’an is a record of Divine Speech as revealed to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. It is the most sacred text of all Muslims and a living symbol of Islamic identity and belief. It is therefore an act of utter provocation and an affront to nearly two billion adherents and people who identify themselves as Muslims, the world over.
An act that violates the dignity and conscience of the twenty-five percent of humanity should be regarded as a threat to global peace and security. It cannot pass as an act that affirms “the freedom of speech.” Rather, Paludan’s act negates the freedom of speech in seeking to marginalise Muslims by inflicting collective indignity upon them, as a faith community. Just like many others who have in the past attempted similar stunts, Paludan deserves the strongest condemnation for his act that represents hateful incitement, Islamophobia and intolerance, from all the people who place a premium on the values of mutual recognition, respect and peaceful co-existence.
Jamiatul Ulama South Africa
02 Rajab 1443 / 24 January 2023