Pakistan strongly condemns the despicable act of public burning of the Holy Quran outside a mosque in Sweden on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.

Such willful incitement to discrimination, hatred and violence cannot be justified under pretext of freedom of expression and protest.

Under international law, States are duty bound to prohibit any advocacy of religious hatred, leading to incitement of violence.

The recurrence of such Islamophobic incidents during the last few months in the West calls into serious question the legal framework which permits such hate-driven actions.

We reiterate that the right to freedom of expression and opinion does not provide a licence to stoke hatred and sabotage inter-faith harmony.

Pakistan’s concerns about the incident are being conveyed to Sweden. We once again urge that both the international community and the national governments must undertake credible and concrete measures to prevent the rising incidents of xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.

29 June 2023

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