Support for Anwar’s condemnation of Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan for burning a copy of holy Quran in Stockholm

I fully support the condemnation of the Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, of the Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan for burning a copy of the holy Quran in Stockholm on Sunday.

It is not only a blatant defilement of Islam’s holy book, but an unacceptable hate speech which cannot find any justification as “freedom of speech” in any civilized society, just as there can be no justification for any act of arson.

In an increasingly smaller global village as a result of the advances of technology, the new international ethos we must develop is international inter-ethnic, inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding, harmony and peace, and not the opposite, as the Paludans want.

Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Iran are among the other Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries which have condemned Paludan’s vile and despicable act, and the OIC denounced Paludan’s “provocative action” as “further example of the alarming level reached by Islamophobia”.

But the Paludans are a diminishing breed in Denmark, as in the 2019 national elections, the political party Rasmus Paludan founded could not even get 2% of the vote, the threshold required to enter the Danish Parliament.

There are extremists in all ethnic, religious, and cultural groups, and the health of national and international society will be determined by a conscious policy to keep these extremists at bay.

The burning of a copy of Islam’s holy book is a clear form of Islamophobia, but equally reprehensible, irresponsible, and immoral are actions at the other extreme end, for example people shouting non-existent Islamophobia to create fear and hatred that Islam is under threat of survival.

The OIC Islamophobia Observatory conducts global and daily monitoring of Islamophobia has never found Islamophobia in Malaysia but there are extreme voices alleging that the Federal and several state governments in Malaysia are influenced by Islamophobia.

All such forms of reprehensible, irresponsible, and immoral extremism must be eliminated if national and international societies are to develop the inter-ethnic, inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding, harmony and peace necessary for their survival and progress.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Veteran