Dr Anwar Gargash denounces “hate and fanaticism” of anti-Islam rallies in Sweden

A senior UAE official has condemned anti-Islamic gatherings in Sweden where copies of the Holy Quran were to be burned as a “wave of hatred and fanaticism”.

Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President, Sheikh Khalifa, posted online to say that those involved had embraced an ideology that could not support religions coexisting in peace.

“The wave of hatred and fanaticism that Sweden is witnessing against our true Islamic religion is rejected and constitutes a danger in its adoption of an ideology that rejects the principles of coexistence,” Dr Gargash wrote on Monday.

Demonstrators gathered in several Swedish cities to protest against rallies organized by Danish anti-immigration and anti-Islam political party Stram Kurs — hard line – led by Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan.

Swedish police fired warning shots at a protest in the eastern town of Norrkoping on Sunday against plans by Mr Paludan’s group to burn copies of the Koran.

This follows earlier clashes over the weekend that left police injured and patrol vehicles set on fire.

Dr Gargash reaffirmed the tolerant approach of the UAE where people of different backgrounds and religions can live together without fear.

“What is happening confirms the effectiveness of the approach of tolerance that characterizes the United Arab Emirates, which has chosen it as its path and this has reflected positively on its society where many cultures and religions live in safety and stability,” he said.

Saudi Arabia also expressed its condemnation of the deliberate misuse of the Quran, provocations and incitement against Muslims by extremists in Sweden.

The country’s foreign ministry stressed the importance of concerted efforts to spread the values ​​of dialogue, tolerance, coexistence and renouncing hatred and extremism, while preventing abuses of all religions and places saints.

Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political science professor based in the United Arab Emirates, said the Quran incidents involved a small minority with extreme views.

“What an extremist politician has done in Sweden by burning a copy of the noble Quran is religiously, morally and humanely rejected,” Professor Abdulla wrote on Twitter.

“He represents a small extremist group that hates Islam and Muslims, not a Swedish company.

“This society is among the most civilized, tolerant, open, moderate and accepting of the other and [the politician] should not be answered with violence or by burning the Swedish flag.

On Sunday, a crowd of around 150 people threw stones at officers and police vehicles and set fire to cars in Norrkoping, around 160 kilometers south of the capital Stockholm.

Demonstrations against Mr. Paludan also took place in other Swedish cities.

Since Thursday, protests have also taken place in Linkoping, south-west of Norrkoping, as well as in the capital Stockholm, Malmö, in southern Sweden, the south-central city of Orebro and the southern city of Landskrona.

Demonstrations in Sweden — in pictures

Updated: April 19, 2022, 7:38 a.m.

Sara H. Byrd