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Nordic Quran desecrations spark call for calm in Indonesia

Clerics urge Muslims not to harm Christians after copies of holy book torn, burned in Norway and Sweden

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Nordic Quran desecrations spark call for calm in Indonesia

Copies of the Quran were desecrated during anti-Islamic rallies in Sweden and Norway on Aug. 29. (Photo supplied)

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Muslim clerics in Indonesia have called on followers across the archipelago to remain calm following incidents in Sweden and Norway in which copies of the Quran were desecrated.

An anti-Islam activist in Oslo, Norway, ripped out pages of the Muslim holy book while supporters of a right-wing politician burned copies of the Quran during a protest in Malmo, Sweden, last week.

The Swedish protest took place on Aug. 29 after right-wing Danish politician and lawyer Rasmus Paludan — known for being anti-Muslim — was banned from attending a meeting on the “Islamization of Nordic countries” in Malmo the previous day. Copies of the Quran were trampled on and burned.  

The Oslo incident took place the same day at a rally organized by a far-right group outside the Norwegian parliament.  

The Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) condemned the incidents but appealed to Muslims to not be provoked or take out their anger on members of the country’s Christian community.

"Muslims in Indonesia denounce these barbaric acts," Nadjamuddin Ramly, deputy general secretary of the MUI’s interreligious harmony department, told reporters.

"These actions can cause conflict among believers, but Indonesian Muslims are called upon to maintain solidity, solidarity, harmony and peace with other religions," he told UCA News.

Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, a member of a presidential unit promoting communal tolerance, also condemned the incidents for “hurting and insulting the sacred symbol of Islam.” 

“This can’t be justified because it destroys society,” Father Susetyo told UCA News. “We hope countries that uphold democracy, law and human rights do not attack the sacred values of all religions and faiths.” 

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, welcomed the Muslim clerics’ call for calm.

“We hope Indonesian people show a maturity of faith, which is needed in a society where people of different religions live side by side,” Naipospos said.

Indonesia’s foreign minister met the Swedish and Norwegian ambassadors on Sept. 1 to protest the Koran desecrations.

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