Leaders of Turkey, Iran and Qatar used the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to attack Europe, condemning “vile” desecrations of the Quran.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the platform first to denounce what he called “intolerable” attacks in European countries against Islam.
An Iraqi refugee in Sweden, Salwan Momika, sparked international outrage in June by burning and trampling on Islam’s holy book in front of Stockholm’s largest mosque on the first day of Eid al-Adha, a holiday celebrated by Muslims across the world.
The Swedish government condemned the act while emphasising the importance of free speech on its soil.
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Iraq requested Momika’s extradition from the country last week.
During his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York, Erdogan alleged “racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia” in European countries had reached “intolerable” levels.
He accused “populist politicians in many countries of playing with fire”, claiming “despicable attacks in Europe against the Quran were darkening the [region’s] future”.
Denmark presented a bill at the end of August to ban Quran burnings.
In a speech slamming the US and the West in general, Iranian President Ebrahim Raissi said “The fire of disrespect would not destroy divine truth.”
The Islamic Republic leader held up a copy of the Quran several times which he kissed.
“The Islamophobia and cultural apartheid that we can observe in Western countries – ranging from the desecration of holy books of the Quran to the banning of the hijab in schools – and many other regrettable discriminations, do not relate to human dignity,” said Raissi.
Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, whose wealthy Gulf state is an ally of the West and has only a limited parliamentary democracy, said “The Quran was too sacred to be desecrated by an idiot.”