The Kingdom of Morocco has strongly condemned the alleged Sweden’s Government’s authorisation of burning of Holy Quran in front of a mosque in Stockholm.
Consequently, Morocco has recalled its ambassador to Stockholm and summoned Sweden’s charge d’affaires in Rabat.
A statement from the Moroccan News Agency, MAP, made available reads in part: “On the very High Instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, may God assist Him, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Kingdom of Sweden in Rabat was summoned this Wednesday to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, and the Ambassador of His Majesty the King to Sweden was recalled to the Kingdom for indefinite consultations, after the Swedish government once again authorized a demonstration on the same day during which the Holy Quran was burned in front of a mosque in Stockholm.”
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates stated that during the summons, the Swedish diplomat was informed of the Kingdom of Morocco’s “most vigorous condemnation of this offence and rejection of this unacceptable act.”
“This new offensive and irresponsible act disregards the feelings of more than a billion Muslims during this sacred period of the great pilgrimage to Mecca and the blessed feast of Eid Al-Adha,” the statement stressed.
“Regardless of the political positions or differences that may exist between countries, the Kingdom considers it unacceptable that the faith of Muslims should be disrespected in this way, nor can the principles of tolerance and the values of universalism be reduced to accommodating the views of a few while showing so little regard for the beliefs of more than a billion Muslims,” the statement added.
Several Muslim-majority countries have also condemned the burning of a copy of the Quran in Sweden at a protest.
The problem began when a certain Salwan Momika, said to be an Iraqi living in Sweden, set fire to a copy of the Muslim text in front of Stockholm’s central mosque on Wednesday.
Middle Eastern nations including Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt strongly criticised the burning. And Turkey, a Nato member with a say over whether Sweden gains membership, called it a “despicable act”.
Turkey – which was also angered by a Quran burning protest earlier this year – said it was “unacceptable” to allow such “anti-Islamic actions” to take place “under the pretext of freedom of expression”.
Muslims consider the Quran the sacred word of God and view any intentional damage or show of disrespect towards it as deeply offensive.
The Quran burning on Wednesday took place as Muslims around the world celebrated the first day of Eid al-Adha, one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar.
Swedish police had given Mr Momika a permit for the protest, in accordance with free-speech laws. But later police said the incident was being investigated for incitement of hatred.
The protest sparked anger among other nations too.
Iraq said the incident was “a reflection of a hateful aggressive spirit that has nothing to do with freedom of expression.”
Iran echoed Iraq’s criticism, calling the act of burning the Quran “provocative” and “unacceptable”, while Egypt described it as a “shameful” act which was especially provocative as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha.
Saudi Arabia – the destination of around 1.8m worshippers on the annual Hajj pilgrimage this week – said “these hateful and repeated acts cannot be accepted with any justification.”
Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said the Quran burning was “legal but not appropriate”.
Plans to burn copies of the Quran have sparked riots in Sweden in recent months.
Police had rejected similar protest applications recently, but courts then ruled that they should be allowed on freedom of expression grounds.