Tehran has summoned its Norwegian envoy to voice “strong protest” over the burning of a Koran at an anti-Muslim rally in Norway, joining Pakistan in condemning what it deemed an incitement of hatred and division.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Monday warning the Koran-burning could have “dangerous consequences in spreading extremism and violence,” and insisted that the perpetrator faces punishment.
It is impossible to insult the beliefs and sanctities of over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world under the pretext of freedom of expression.
The Norwegian charge d’affaires, who currently serves in Tehran in lieu of an ambassador, said he would convey the message to Oslo, adding that his government roundly rejects the stunt, which took place at a political rally in the city of Kristiansand last week.
At the rally, Lars Thorsen, a leader of Stop Islamization of Norway (SIAN), threw a copy of the Koran into a garbage can and attempted to burn another, triggering a violent scuffle with a counter-protester. The incident has generated controversy online, especially in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world, where the counter-protester has been heralded as a hero.
In addition to the complaints lodged in Iran and Pakistan, the Turkish Foreign Ministry also weighed in to denounce the act, stating: “We strongly condemn the disrespect for our holy book.”