A man takes the picture of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) logo in Jakarta. (Photo courtesy of MUI)

Indonesian Ulema Council Condemns Koran Burning in Sweden

BY :SURYA LESMANA & JAYANTY NADA SHOFA

JANUARY 23, 2023

Jakarta. The Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI, denounces the burning of a copy of the Koran by a Danish-Swedish far-right politician during a recent protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.

Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish far-right political party Stram Kurs, set fire to a copy of the Koran when protesting outside the Turkish Embassy over the weekend. The Islamophobic act has sparked worldwide outrage. Condemnation also poured in from Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, particularly among its Islamic scholars.

“What Rasmus Paludan and his group did has sparked a conflict in Sweden. This act is not only shameful but also uncivilized,” Sudarnoto Abdul Hakim, the head of foreign affairs at the MUI, said on Monday.

The MUI accuses Paludan and his group of spreading xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia. The MUI urged the Swedish government to take immediate action against the perpetrators.

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“If the Swedish government fails to take action, extremism and Islamophobia will only continue to spread and threaten humanity. This is baffling, because they [the perpetrators] have committed the act several times, but we have not seen a firm action taken against Paludan,” Sudarnoto said.

“This is the same as the [Swedish] government letting Islamophobia spread even though it goes against the United Nations’ resolution on combating Islamophobia,” he said. The MUI demanded an explanation from the Swedish Ambassador in Indonesia. 

According to Sudarnoto, the Swedish ambassador should promise to take action to stop all sorts of extremism. He also called for the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry to make a diplomatic appeal to the Swedish envoy in Jakarta.

“Don’t let the Sweden-Indonesia ties be disrupted because we let this case go unchecked,” Sudarnoto said.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry on Sunday announced on Twitter that Indonesia strongly condemned the Koran burning.

“This act of blasphemy has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance. Freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner,” the ministry tweeted.

Paludan has burnt copies of the Koran in the past. In 2022, Paludan set fire to copies of the Islamic holy book in the Muslim-populated Frölunda, Boras, and Trollhättan regions of the southwestern province of Västergötland in Sweden.

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