Muslims in Netherlands protest desecration of Quran

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Muslims in Netherlands protest desecration of Quran

THE HAGUE : A group of Muslims staged a protest in the Hague on Sunday against recent desecrations of the Quran and Islamophobia.

Hundreds of Muslims marched towards Koekamp square as part of the “stop anti-Muslim hatred” protest organized by the Federation of Islamic Organizations (FIO) and the Haaglanden Region Islamic Organizations Association (SIORH).

Gathering in the square, they chanted slogans against the desecration of the Muslim holy book, condemning such Islamophobic acts.

They also performed a prayer and recited verses from the Quran.

Speaking at the demonstration, Tahsin Cetinkaya, the head of the Turkish Islamic Culture Foundation, said Islamophobia has risen to “a new level” in the Netherlands.

“Muslims, mosques and other Islamic institutions have faced various Islamophobic acts over the years, including the sending of threatening letters to mosques, the hanging pigs’ heads on mosque doors and arson,” he said.

Cetinkaya noted that the perpetrators of these acts are encouraged by the silence of government officials.

“Enough is enough. Stop holding grudges against Muslims and Islam,” he said, stressing that Muslims living in the Netherlands are also part of the country.

Rasmus Paludan, an extremist Danish-Swedish politician and the leader of the far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), burned a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Jan. 21 with both police protection and permission from Swedish authorities.

The following week, he burned a copy of Islam’s holy book in front of a mosque in Denmark and said he would repeat the act every Friday until Sweden is included in NATO.

Meanwhile, far-right Dutch politician Edwin Wagensveld, leader of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA), tore apart a Quran before setting it on fire at an anti-Islam demonstration in Enschede, the Netherlands in late January.

Sweden’s NATO bid

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO last May, a decision spurred by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Unanimous agreement from all NATO members – including Türkiye, a member for more than 70 years – is needed for any new members to be admitted to the alliance.

Under a memorandum signed last June between Türkiye, Sweden and Finland, the two Nordic countries pledged to take steps against terrorists to gain membership in the NATO alliance.

In the memorandum, Sweden and Finland agreed not to provide support to terrorist groups such as the PKK and its offshoots and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and to extradite terrorist suspects to Türkiye, among other steps.

Türkiye says the two countries, particularly Sweden, need to do more to fulfill their promises, especially in the wake of recent demonstrations by supporters of the PKK terror group and the burning of the Quran in Stockholm. — AA

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