INSIGHT : Burning a Quran Copy Has Nothing to Do with Freedom of Expression

Burning a copy of the Quran has nothing to do with “freedom of expression”. The Kingdom of Morocco, whose Sovereign is an Amir Al Mu’minin (Commander of the Faithful), has always resented irrevenent acts, whenever they may come from, that violate the Muslim faith and offend the feelings of Muslims everywhere.

The Kingdom has condemned Wednesday’s burning of the Holy Quran in Stockholm in the most vigorous terms, because it constitutes not only a violation of human rights, but also an inadmissible recidivism, perpetrated before the passive and permissive gaze of Swedish authorities weighed down by a controversial decision by the Supreme Court, which had ruled against the ban on demonstrations to burn the Quran.

However, to place the desecration of Islam’s Holy Book under the umbrella of “freedom of expression” or “demonstration” is nonsense, and has more to do with iniquity than justice. The burning of the Quran, particularly in these holy days when the Muslim world celebrates Eid Al-Adha, is a supreme offense and an ultimate mark of disrespect, intolerance and discrimination against all Muslims.

The act of burning the Quran is neither freedom nor expression; nor is insult, defamation or threat. How can we explain to Muslims in Sweden – and the rest of the world – that these fundamental freedoms are being hijacked and diverted from their essence, to accommodate some – even if it means offending others?

The facts are serious, and the times no less so. The burning of the Quran is an odious act, taking place against a backdrop of rising Islamophobia in Europe, increasing xenophobia and incitement to hatred against Muslims.

The expressions are numerous: the rise of xenophobic bangs; the spread of Islamophobic narratives; political and populist recuperations; the stigmatization of Islam and Muslims; the manufacture of scapegoats and the instrumentalization of the migration issue, which essentializes Muslims and lapses into conspiracy theories cultivating an imaginary threat and demonization of the “Other”.

On Wednesday in Stockholm, a copy of the Koran was burnt; one day earlier in Nanterre, a 17-year-old ran into the fire of a law enforcement officer. Such violence – whether physical, emotional or symbolic – must have no future under the rule of law. There is only one step between communitarianism and Islamophobia, and it can be a fatal one. Islamophobia is not just a violation of human rights; it is a call to violence, when it does not kill outright. It must not be tolerated anywhere.

In His Royal Message to the participants in the Parliamentary Conference on Interfaith Dialogue, held in Marrakech on June 13, His Majesty the King recalled that our world is confronted with ideologies of “extremism, self-centredness, hatred and reclusiveness”, emphasized that “we should realize that fearing a given religion – or, to put it more correctly, prompting feelings of fear of that religion – leads to hatred for the manifestations of that faith and for the civilization associated with it. This, then, leads to incitement against that religion, to discrimination and to acts of violence.”

These words of Royal wisdom ring true, today more than ever.

ALdar : LA MAP

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