Washington, D.C. | www.mpac.org | July 20, 2023 — The desecration of the Quran in Stockholm, Sweden last month has given way to a strong reaction from the global Muslim community. In Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for protests to defend the sanctity of the Quran. While in Iraq, Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, expelled the Swedish ambassador and directed Iraq’s chargé d’affaires to withdraw from the Iraqi embassy in Sweden, an act that signals the severing of diplomatic ties after angry Iraqi protestors stormed the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad and set it on fire. 

It is imperative that the Muslim community responds in a manner that is just and upholds Islamic values, including peace, justice, forgiveness, patience, and controlling one’s anger. 

We must stand together as a community and condemn acts of violence through dialogue, discourse, and advocacy. There is no grace in responding with aggression, or in a manner that further enables negative stereotypes used to discriminate against Muslims worldwide. 

Furthermore, MPAC wishes to acknowledge the United Nations Human Rights Council for adopting a resolution that condemned and strongly rejected any advocacy and manifestation of religious hatred, including the desecration of the Quran. MPAC is grateful to the United Nations Human Rights Council members who voted in favor of this resolution, and to the world leaders who condemned this act of hate.  

We admire world leaders that have chosen to respond in cohesive celebration of the Islamic faith and the holy Quran, by instead showing resilience. The response from the Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf al Ahmad al Sabah to distribute 100,000 translated copies of the Quran in Sweden is a great example and testament to our faith. 

In the words of our co-founder, the late Dr. Maher Hathout: 

The Quran is not burnable because it is Zikr– a thing to be mentioned. It is a sacred tablet in the custody of God. What they are burning is merely ink and paper. Hence we look to these malicious and hateful acts with discord. We should not honor it with any strong reaction. Rather, we should invite people for dialogue to inform them about the Quran and inform them that individuals burning the Quran are in fact, burning the story of Moses and the story of Jesus, and the honor of Mary, and the whole saga of great prophets within the three Abrahamic religions.