Muslims in the Netherlands protest attacks against Quran

THE HAGUE : Muslims participated Saturday in a protest organized by Islamic organizations in the Dutch city of The Hague amid ongoing Islamophobic incidents around Europe.

Protesters carried copies of Quran and gathered in Malieveld Square. They had signs that read: “The Qur’an gives us light to guide us, fire cannot burn the Sun” and “I love the Qur’an” as demonstrators walked toward the Danish and Swedish embassies.

Protesters criticized governments that enable hostile acts against the Quran. They shouted: “Stop burning our book and holy books,” and “Shame on the Danish and Swedish governments!” Demonstrators also recited verses from the Qur’an.

Serdar Isik, a psychologist, read a statement in front of the Swedish Embassy and said attacks on the Quran in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands hurt Muslims very much and tearing the Quran under police protection is a racist act.

Isik slammed The Hague Mayor Jan van Zanen, who allowed attacks on the Quran. “It hurts us that racists and fascists are allowed to attack the values of more than a million Muslims in the Netherlands so blatantly,” said Isik.

He said demonstrators demand the Dutch government prepare a bill emphasizing the protection of religious peace and ensure the peaceful coexistence of religious and non-religious groups and individuals.

Attacks against the Quran in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands

Rasmus Paludan, a Danish far-right politician and leader of the Stram Kurs (Hard Line) Party, continued provocations by burning the Quran in the Swedish cities of Malmo, Norkopin, Jonkoping and Stockholm during Easter holidays in 2022.

Paludan burned the Muslim holy book in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Jan. 21 and in Copenhagen on Jan. 27.

Edwin Wagensveld, leader of the Islamophobic organization, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) movement in the Netherlands, tore the Quran in one-man demonstrations in The Hague on Jan. 22, under police protection, and Feb. 13 in the city of Utrecht.

Muslim groups gathered at the site where a demonstration in Rotterdam was planned and held a counter-demonstration because PEGIDA’s demonstration was not banned despite the announcement that the group’s members would burn the Quran.

Wagensveld, who was released the same day after being detained, wanted to carry out a similar action in The Hague the following day but police detained Wagensveld on grounds that he did not comply with demonstration rules.

On Aug. 18, Wagensveld tore the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in The Hague.

In Stockholm, Salwan Momika set the Quran on fire under police protection in front of the Stockholm Mosque on June 28, which coincided with the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Momika trampled the Qur’an and the Iraqi flag under police protection in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm on July 20, and in front of the Swedish Parliament on July 31 and July 14.

Bahrami Marjan, who is of Iranian origin, burned the Quran on the Angbybadet beach of Stockholm on Aug. 3 under the protection of police.

Momika carried out an attack on the Quran in front of the Iranian Embassy in Stockholm, again under protection of police. — AA

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