Holy Destruction

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Protests broke out in Indonesia, Pakistan and elsewhere this week over the burning of the Muslim Holy Book at far-right demonstrations in Sweden and the Netherlands, with diplomatic repercussions especially hitting the Scandinavian country, which is up for NATO membership, the Associated Press reported.

On Monday, hundreds of Indonesian Muslims marched on the Swedish Embassy in the country’s capital Jakarta, set fire to portraits of Danish anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan – who organized the protest in Sweden – and also burned the flags of Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

On Jan. 21, Paludan staged a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, where he burned the Quran. Days later, Edwin Wagensveld, Dutch leader of the far-right Pegida movement, tore pages out of a Quran near the Dutch Parliament and stomped on them.

The Indonesian government, in response, summoned Sweden’s ambassador last week to complain, said Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah.

In Lahore, Pakistan, thousands took to the streets to protest against the Swedish demonstration on Friday and again on Monday, part of protests also seen across the Middle East that included Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.

Meanwhile, Turkey has accused the government in Stockholm, which has applied jointly with Finland to join NATO, of being too lenient toward groups it deems as terror organizations or existential threats, including Kurdish groups. It also warned Sweden to not expect support for its NATO bid in light of the Quran burning, France 24 reported.

NATO requires the unanimous approval of its existing members to add new ones, but Turkey says it would only agree to admit Sweden if the country met its conditions.

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