Islamic affairs minister: Malaysia, Sweden agree to continue fight against Islamophobia

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 ― Malaysia and Sweden have agreed to continue joint efforts to combat Islamophobia and any other form of discrimination, in addition to exploring various ways to cooperate with each other in a tolerant and peaceful manner.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said this was among the matters agreed upon in his meeting with Sweden’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Joachim Bergstrom today, following the recent incident involving the burning of a copy of the Quran in Sweden.

Mohd Na’im said during the meeting, he also repeated Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s stance of Malaysia condemning the act, in addition to urging the Swedish government to take necessary measures and action against the perpetrators.

He said such action was important to ensure the vile acts did not recur, while considering that freedom of speech did not mean freedom to insult the principles and dignity of a religion.

“The Swedish ambassador reiterated the Swedish government’s position regarding this Islamophobic provocation and that the act of burning the Holy Quran is outrageous and disrespectful,” he said in a statement here tonight.

According to Mohd Na’im, Bergstrom also said that the Swedish government will increase efforts to curb Islamophobia, racism and discrimination through various policies and initiatives in strengthening democracy.

“The Swedish government will join hands at the national and international levels in organising interfaith dialogue and promoting peace among various races,” he said, adding that the Swedish Constitution protected the right to freedom of religion as well as freedom of expression, both of which were fundamental in a democracy.

Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish right-wing extremist party, Stram Kurs, was allowed to burn the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on January 21, angering Muslims around the world. ― Bernama


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