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Denmark to ban Quran burnings, says justice minister

August 25, 2023

The government plans to criminalize the public burning of holy texts, including the Quran, the Bible or the Torah. The move comes in response to anger in Muslim countries following a number of such incidents.

An open copy of the Holy Quran
The government seeks to extend Denmark's existing ban on burning foreign flags to religious itemsImage: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Denmark's justice minister said on Friday that the Scandinavian country would ban the burning of Islam's holy book, the Quran.

The government has rejected objections put forward by some Danish opposition parties saying such a prohibition would infringe on free speech.

What the minister said

A bill that is to be presented would "prohibit the inappropriate treatment of objects of significant religious importance to a religious community," Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard told reporters.

He added that the legislation principally concerned burnings and other desecrations carried out in public places.

"The proposal will thus make it punishable to, for example, in public burn a Quran, bible or Torah," he said, adding: "I fundamentally believe there are more civilized ways to express one's views than burning things."  

Widespread outrage

The move follows numerous incidents in recent months during which people have publicly burned or damaged copies of the Quran in both Denmark and Sweden in apparent hostility to the Islamic faith.

The acts have fueled outrage in several Muslim countries and prompted calls for the Nordic countries to ban the practice.

 Last week, Sweden raised its terror alert level to the second-highest level for the first time since 2016 amid fears of attacks by people angered by the actions.

tj/rc (AFP, Reuters)