Quran burned in front of Denmark mosque, Turkish embassy | Islamophobia News
An anti-Islamic activist burned copies of the holy book of Muslims near a mosque in Copenhagen and near the Turkish embassy in Denmark.
Rasmus Paludan, a far-right activist with both Danish and Swedish citizenship, has already infuriated the Turkish government by staging a January 21 protest against the burning of the Koran in Sweden.
On Friday, he repeated the stunt in front of a mosque as well as the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen and promised to continue every Friday until Sweden was admitted to NATO.
Sweden and neighboring Finland are seeking to join a military alliance amid the war in Ukraine, a historic departure from their non-alignment policy.
However, their entry will require the approval of all NATO members, and Turkey has said it will block Sweden’s bid – in part because of Paludan’s initial antics.
Even before that, Ankara had pressured the two countries to crack down on Kurdish militias, activists and other groups it considers “terrorists.”
Turkish state agency Anadolu reported that the Danish ambassador was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, where Turkish officials “strongly condemned the authorization given for this provocative act, which clearly constitutes a hate crime.”
The ambassador was told that “Denmark’s position is unacceptable” and that Turkey was waiting for the permit to be withdrawn.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry later issued a statement calling Paludan an “Islamic-hating charlatan” and regretting that he was allowed to organize the demonstration.
“Tolerating such heinous acts that offend the feelings of millions of people living in Europe threatens the practice of peaceful coexistence and provokes racist, xenophobic and anti-Muslim attacks,” the ministry said.
Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told Danish media that the incident would not change Denmark’s “good relations” with Turkey, adding that Copenhagen intended to talk to Ankara about Danish laws protecting freedoms.
“Our task now is to talk to Turkey about how things are in Denmark with our open democracy, and that there is a difference between Denmark as a country – and our people as such – and then about individuals who have very different looks,” said Lokke Rasmussen.
Following Paludan’s actions in Sweden last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Stockholm not to expect support for its NATO membership bid. Turkey has also postponed indefinitely a key meeting in Brussels that discussed the membership of Sweden and Finland.
On Friday, Paludan burned a copy of a Muslim holy book for the first time outside a mosque in Copenhagen. As the Associated Press reported, loud music blared from the mosque during his speech, apparently trying to drown out his words.
“This mosque has no place in Denmark,” Paludan said live on his Facebook page, wearing a protective helmet and surrounded by riot police.
Then Paludan, who was under police protection, was taken away in a police car.
Later, in front of the Turkish embassy, Paludan spoke through a megaphone: “One day he [Erdogan] let Sweden into NATO, I promise that I will not burn the Koran near the Turkish embassy. Otherwise, I will do it every Friday at 2:00 pm.”
A lawyer, Paludan created far-right parties in Sweden and Denmark that failed to win a single seat in national, regional or municipal elections. In last year’s parliamentary elections in Sweden, his party received only 156 votes across the country.
On Friday, protests took place in several predominantly Muslim countries against Paludan’s protest in Sweden and a similar incident in the Netherlands.
Condemnation and protests in countries including Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon ended in a peaceful waste of people. In the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, police stopped several demonstrators who were trying to march to the Swedish embassy.
Meanwhile, the United States issued a security alert warning US citizens in Turkey of possible retaliatory attacks on places of worship or places frequented by Westerners following the Koran-burning incidents.