(Quran desecration) is a terror act, an extremist action that could not be justified and might harm religious harmony
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas condemned the Quran burning and desecration acts that recently occurred in Sweden and the Netherlands, saying that they could threaten religious harmony worldwide.

"(Quran desecration) is a terror act, an extremist action that could not be justified and might harm religious harmony. I condemn this extremist act," Qoumas stated here, Thursday.

Earlier, Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), burned the Quran in a demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Saturday (January 21).

On the very next day, leader of the anti-Islam organization PEGIDA Edwin Wagensveld tore apart the Quran at an anti-Turkish demonstration in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Qoumas said that the desecration of religious symbols, especially holy books, must not be justified by any means, including in the name of freedom of speech and expression.

"You are allowed to convey your aspiration or expression but do not make it in extreme or provocative ways, let alone by desecrating religious symbols and holy books. It could harm social harmony and divide the people," the minister stated.

He pointed out that Indonesia's G20 Presidency theme, "Recovery Together, Recover Stronger," promoted global solidarity in making progress and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Desecration of religious symbols, as what far-right groups have done to the holy Quran, will harm efforts to enhance solidarity and peace.

"It is harming the religious community, and it cannot be justified. Protests from various countries, including Indonesia, as well as the public and religious figures, proves that such action harmed feelings and the spirit of religious solidarity," Qoumas stated.

Meanwhile, he urged Indonesian Muslims to prioritize peaceful actions and ways that could highlight the noble values of Islam to respond to such actions.

"Muslims' anger on this incident is justifiable, yet, our response must remain within the legal boundary and our noble values," the minister underscored.

Qoumas also urged religious leaders to take action to prevent the incident from evoking more public response, including by highlighting the need to maintain a peaceful and harmonious way of religion.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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