Swedish govt committed to combatting Islamophbia, racism, says Na’im

PETALING JAYA: The Swedish government has stated its commitment to increase efforts to prevent Islamophobia, racism and discrimination through policies and initiatives that will strengthen democracy, following the Al-Quran burning incident in Stockholm, says Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) said this after a meeting with Swedish ambassador to Malaysia Dr Joachim Bergstrom regarding the burning of the Holy Book.

“The Swedish ambassador reiterated the Swedish government’s position in relation to the Islamophobia provocation and condemned the action of burning the holy Al-Quran as an extreme move which is disrespectful to religion,” he said in a statement on Friday (Feb 3).

Mohd Naim said he and Bergstrom have agreed to continue joint efforts to combat Islamophobia and any form of discrimination, in addition to finding ways to work together with tolerance and in peace and harmony.

Mohd Naim also reiterated Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s stance to Bergstorm that Malaysia condemned the Islamophobic act and urged Stockholm to take necessary action against the culprit to ensure such incidents do not occur again.

He added that freedom of speech does not mean one can disrespect the principles and dignity of another religion.

“The government of Sweden will work with several parties within the country or internationally to organise inter-faith dialogues to ensure inter-faith peace. The Swedish Constitution protects the rights for freedom of religion and speech, both of which are basic principles of democracy,” he said.

Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), was burned the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm last month causing the Muslim world to erupt in anger over the incident.