Saudi Arabia has strongly denounced the actions of a Dutch far-right activist who desecrated a copy of the Quran during a demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in The Hague. The Saudi government stated that such “repeated acts cannot be justified under any circumstances.”
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of these reprehensible and recurring acts that cannot be justified under any circumstances. Such acts clearly promote hatred, exclusion, and racism, and directly contradict international efforts to promote values of tolerance, moderation, and the rejection of extremism,” the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.
The ministry added that such acts “undermine the essential foundation of mutual respect that is necessary for relationships among peoples and countries.”
In August, Edwin Wagensveld, the leader of a Dutch far-right group Pegida, damaged a copy of the Quran as part of a demonstration in front of the Turkish embassy. The Dutch government, who had condemned the organizing of the demonstration ahead of the event, said it has no legal powers to prevent it.
Wagensveld in January also tore up a copy of the Quran outside parliament during a similar demonstration while likening the Islamic holy book to “Adolf Hitler’s ’Mein Kampf,’” according to reports from the AFP.
He faces a trial for the comments he made during the demonstration.
On Monday, the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Jassim Mohammed Al-Budaiwi, denounced the tearing of the Quran and called for “urgent and effective international steps to confront these aggressive and provocative actions against Muslims.”
Al-Budaiwi stressed the need for countries where such demonstrations are happening to intervene and assume their legal and moral responsibilities to end such practices which have been recurring under the pretext of freedom of expression, according to reports from the Official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
A series of attacks on the Quran have taken place in other European countries recently.
In July, two men set fire to a copy of the Quran in front of the Swedish parliament and similar desecration of the Quran took place in Denmark this year, inciting anger and protests in several Muslim countries.