SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Denmark’s parliament votes in favor of bill to stop Quran burnings

Denmark’s parliament passed a bill on Thursday that makes it illegal to burn copies of the Quran in public places, after protests in Muslim nations over the desecration of Islam’s holy book raised Danish security concerns.

Denmark and Sweden experienced a series of public protests this year where anti-Islam activists burned or otherwise damaged copies of the Quran, sparking tensions with Muslims and triggering demands that the Nordic governments ban the practice.

Denmark sought to strike a balance between constitutionally protected freedom of speech, including the right to criticize religion, and national security amid fears that Quran burnings would trigger attacks by extremists.

Domestic critics in Sweden and Denmark have argued that any limitations on criticizing religion, including by burning Qurans, undermine hard-fought liberal freedoms in the region.

“History will judge us harshly for this, and with good reason… What it all comes down to is whether a restriction on freedom of speech is determined by us, or whether it is dictated from the outside,” said Inger Stojberg, leader of the anti-immigration Denmark Democrats party, who opposed the ban.

Denmark’s centrist coalition government has argued that the new rules will have only a marginal impact on free speech and that criticizing religion in other ways remains legal.

Breaking the new law would be punishable by fines or up to two years in prison, the government has said.

Sweden, too, is considering ways to legally limit Quran desecrations but is taking a different approach than Denmark. It is looking into whether police should factor in national security when deciding on applications for public protests.

    Source:
  • alarabiya