KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Hamzah Zainudin has urged the government to summon the Swedish ambassador over the burning of the Quran at a demonstration led by a far-right politician in Stockholm.
Hamzah said the opposition MPs were in solidarity with the government to defend the sanctity of Islam and stand against any form of Islamophobia, extremism, radicalism, hate and violence.
“Thus, it is important for Putrajaya to summon the Swedish ambassador to officially express Malaysia’s objection and disappointment over the incident and demand immediate action against the perpetrators,” he said in a statement.
Hamzah said the opposition MPs wanted the government to be more proactive on the international stage in opposing Islamophobia and xenophobic acts, as well as speaking up against policies that incite violence.
“This blatant hate crime should not be allowed or tolerated under the guise of freedom of speech. Sweden must take action to punish all those involved as this is not the first incident orchestrated by Rasmus Paludan and Stram Kurs,” he said, referring to the Swedish-Danish politician and the far-right party he leads in the Scandinavian nation.
Last night, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said Malaysia strongly condemned the burning of the Quran at a demonstration led by Paludan in Stockholm.
He called for immediate action by Swedish authorities against Paludan to check what he called an alarming rise of Islamophobia in the country.
Earlier today, foreign minister Zambry Abdul Kadir said Malaysia would continue to work closely with fellow members of the international community to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and hatred against Islam, including Islamophobic sentiments and extremism.
“Bigotry, racism and vile desecration of such holy scripture, regardless of religion, is unacceptable and should be condemned.
“Malaysia reiterates that freedom of expression cannot be equated with freedom to insult. It goes against the universal principle of respect for religions,” he said in a statement issued by Wisma Putra on the incident.
Paludan was reported to have burned the holy book at a demonstration held in front of the Turkish embassy in the Swedish capital on Saturday.
Following the incident, the Turkish government summoned the Swedish ambassador to express its disappointment. The action also drew the condemnation of various Muslim-majority countries and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Meanwhile, Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) CEO Tuan Kamarul Arief Tuan Soh said the anger and frustration of Malaysians was totally justified.
“We believe this hate-mongering act doesn’t reflect the majority of Swedish and Danish as proven in their rejection of the Stram Kurs party led by Paludan.”
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang said Paludan’s action was not only a blatant defilement of the holy book of Islam, but an unacceptable hate speech that cannot be justified as “freedom of speech” in any civilised society.