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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday strongly condemned yet another despicable act of desecration of the Holy Quran in The Netherlands by a Dutch leader of the far-right group following a similar Islamophobic act in Sweden.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the despicable act of desecration of the Holy Quran in the Netherlands on 22 January 2023. It is undoubtedly a provocative Islamophobic hate crime committed under the guise of freedom of expression,” Foreign Office said in a statement.

It added that such offensive acts deeply hurt the feelings of 1.5 billion Muslims around the world and can create disharmony among the international community.

“Pakistan has always maintained that freedom of expression comes with responsibilities. We also believe that it is the responsibility of national governments and the international community at large to prevent such vile acts, which are perpetrated with the ulterior motive to provoke and incite religious hatred and violence,” it stated.

The Foreign Office emphasized that the international community should raise its collective voice against Islamophobia and work together to promote inter-faith harmony and peaceful coexistence. That was the spirit behind the resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2022 to mark 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, it added.

According to the statement, Pakistan’s concerns are being conveyed to the authorities in The Netherlands. “We urge them to be mindful of the sentiments of the people of Pakistan and the Muslims around the world and take steps to prevent such hateful and Islamophobic acts,” it added. On Monday, Edwin Wagensveld, the Dutch leader of the far-right group, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA), desecrated a copy of the Quran in The Netherlands.

A video posted on social media showed Wagensveld tearing apart a copy of the Holy Quran before showing it being set on fire.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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