Pope Francis Condemns Swedish Authorities’ Decision To Allow Quran Burning: ‘Angry & Disgusted’

Pope Francis Condemns Swedish Authorities’ Decision To Allow Quran Burning: ‘Angry & Disgusted’

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Pope Francis said he is “angry and disgusted” at the burning of the Quran, days after a man tore up and burned a copy of the scripture outside a mosque in Sweden.

Iraqi national Salwan Momika was charged with “agitation against an ethnic or national group” after he tore up pages of a copy of the holy book of Islam, wiped them on his shoe and eventually set the book on fire on Wednesday – the first day of Eid – last week.

“Any book considered holy should be respected to respect those who believe in it,” the Pope told the United Arab Emirates newspaper Al Ittihad, in an interview published on Monday.

“I feel angry and disgusted at these actions.”

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“Freedom of speech should never be used as a means to despise others and allowing that is rejected and condemned,” the pontiff said.

Nearly 200 onlookers in the Swedish capital Stockholm witnessed the act at an anti-Quran demonstration. The protest has risked sparking a fresh diplomatic row with Turkey, which has been holding up Sweden’s bid to join Nato.

Some of those present at the site of the demonstration shouted “God is great” in Arabic to protest the burning. One man was detained by police after he attempted to throw a rock.

Representatives of the mosque were disappointed by the police decision to grant permission for the latest protest on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, mosque director and imam Mahmoud Khalfi said on Wednesday.

“The mosque suggested to the police to at least divert the demonstration to another location, which is possible by law, but they chose not to do so,” Mr Khalfi said in a statement.

The Swedish police had cleared the anti-Quran demonstration despite rejecting several such applications recently. The country’s court has overruled those earlier police orders, calling them an infringement on freedom of speech.

Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson said the protest was “legal but not appropriate” and said it was up to the police to permit it or not.

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