The UK, US and some European Union member countries rejected condemning the burning of the Quran during an urgent debate Tuesday at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva over the rising number of attacks against the Muslim holy book.
The debate was held after Pakistan submitted an official request late Monday on behalf of member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), including those who are members of the UN Human Rights Council.
The OIC called on the countries to condemn the attacks targeting the Quran, describing them as “acts of religious hatred.”
Some EU member states as well as the US and the UK announced that they would vote against a draft resolution on religious hatred following the Quran burnings.
Upon the extension of the speeches by some countries, the Council decided to meet again on Wednesday and vote on the condemnation bill of the OIC.
Addressing the urgent session on acts of religious hatred at the UN Human Rights Council via a video message, Yasin Ekrem Serim, Turkey’s deputy foreign minister, said: “We deeply condemned recent public burnings of the holy Quran, which are clear manifestations of growing religious hatred.”
He emphasized that any form of disrespect toward any holy book contradicts the principles of tolerance, social peace and respect for human dignity.
“Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of society, but it cannot be misused to spread hatred. It is unacceptable to allow these acts on the grounds of freedom of expression. We call on all authorities to take necessary action against perpetrators of these acts and to prevent the recurrence of such incidents,” he said.
Last month, a person identified as Salwan Momika burned a copy of the Quran under police protection in front of the Stockholm Mosque in Sweden.
His provocative act was timed to coincide with Eid al-Adha, one of the major Islamic religious festivals celebrated by Muslims worldwide.
It elicited widespread condemnation from across the Islamic world, including Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Senegal and Mauritania.