Dhaka strongly condemns desecrating the Quran, Momen tells Swedish counterpart

Bangladesh’s foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billström

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Sunday told his Swedish counterpart Tobias Billström that Bangladesh strongly condemns any act of desecrating and burning of a copy of the Quran, for that matter any religious scriptures, under any circumstances.

Momen also expressed Bangladesh’s grave concern over the repeated acts of desecrating and burning of copies of the Holy Quran in Sweden in the past days.

Abdul Momen conveyed this message to the Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billström in a telephone conversation on Sunday afternoon, said a press release.

The Bangladesh foreign minister also reiterated Dhaka’s call on all concerned to put an end to such unwarranted provocations for the sake of mutual respect, harmony and peaceful coexistence.

Terming Sweden as a trusted friend of Bangladesh, Abdul Momen expected that any such despicable act would not recur in Sweden.

Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billström mentioned that any Islamophobic acts are condemned and rejected by the Swedish government. He termed that desecration of the Quran, or any other Holy Scripture is an offensive and disrespectful act.

Tobias Billström stated that public agencies in Sweden make independent decisions and accordingly, the Swedish Police Authority grants permits for demonstrations, but it does not grant permits to burn a copy of the Holy Quran, or any other Holy Scripture.

The Swedish minister regretted that individuals, availing the Swedish constitutional right to freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of demonstration, misuse these freedoms to insult such value which is sacred to a religion.

He updated that the Swedish Minister for Justice has initiated an analysis of the Public Order Act, in light of the recent events.

Foreign minister Abdul Momen also stated that Bangladesh is a country of religious harmony, where religious events are joined by all irrespective of their faiths. He expressed satisfaction that Swedish authorities are taking corrective measures.

The Swedish minister termed Bangladesh society very tolerant and appreciated religious harmony prevailing in Bangladesh.

Referring to the upcoming general elections in Bangladesh either in December this year or January next year in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the country, foreign minister Abdul Momen expressed his firm conviction that Bangladesh Election Commission will conduct the elections in a free, fair and peaceful environment.

He requested Sweden to send election observers to observe the elections. The Swedish Minister assured to convey the invitation to the relevant authorities of Sweden.