The European Muslim Forum (EMF) has denounced the recent incidents in Europe involving the burning of Islam’s holy book, the Quran – acts that have drawn global condemnations from Türkiye and the broader Muslim world for the past week.
“Some elements in Europe intend to create a second battlefield in the continent,” said Abdul-Wakhed Niyazov, the head of EMF, while addressing a press conference in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul on Wednesday.
“European Muslims are voicing their presence and their role in Europe is growing. These provocations are trying to diminish their role in Europe,” Niyazov told reporters.
He praised President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for being “the most vocal” in condemning the desecration of the holy book and said: “We hope other countries would also react. Most did condemn these acts but they were not effective.”
“If the Muslim world had reacted and supported Türkiye, then this issue would have been resolved quickly,” he added.
Arguing that the European system is behind such incidents but not the people who undertake them, Niyazov held the Swedish, Danish and Dutch governments responsible for the demonstrations.
“In many European countries, anti-Semitism is regarded as a crime but Islamophobia comes under ‘freedom of speech.’ This is a double standard,” he said, noting that “change is a must.”
“We are against the burning of any religious book. I cannot imagine a Muslim conducting such an act. We, as Muslims, are always going to be against such acts of desecration,” he emphasized.
For the past three weeks, the Muslim world has been outraged at the desecration of its holy book in western Europe, with Türkiye calling Paludan an “Islam-hating charlatan” and strongly condemned the permission and protection given by authorities for the provocative act which it said, “clearly constitutes a hate crime.”
After torching a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on Jan. 21, with both police protection and permission from the Swedish authorities, Swedish-Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan repeated his provocation a week later in front of a mosque in Denmark.
He announced he would burn a copy of the holy book every Friday until Sweden is included in the NATO alliance. Sweden’s bid for NATO membership is facing a dead end as ties strain over Stockholm’s failure to curb anti-Türkiye propaganda by far-right politicians and supporters of terrorist organizations like the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Not two days following Paludan, another far-right radical Edwin Wagensveld, the leader of the Islamophobic group Pegida, tore out and burned pages of the Quran in the Dutch capital.
Erdoğan particularly denounced the incidents and noted: “Did they wipe out Islam by burning our Quran? … They just showed how ignoble they are. Denmark did the same.”