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Danish PM: Banning burning of the Quran would not reduce freedom of expression

Danish PM: Banning burning of the Quran would not reduce freedom of expression

by host

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen spoke out for the first time on the burning of the Quran in her country, saying that a potential ban on setting fire to the religious text would not limit freedom of expression.

“I don’t consider it a restriction on freedom of expression that you can’t burn other people’s books,” Frederiksen said in an interview published Thursday.

“It is not a slippery slope,” she added, referring to a debate triggered after the Danish government announced a potential ban on Quran burnings on Sunday.

Last week, far-right protesters organized anti-Islam demonstrations and burned copies of the Quran in front of the Egyptian and Turkish embassies in Copenhagen. On Sunday, Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen condemned these acts and said the small number of people responsible did not represent Danish society or values.

“There is a concrete security risk. And then there is a risk that we will become isolated on the international stage. And this is particularly problematic right now, when we are spending a lot of effort on building partnerships and alliances,” Frederiksen warned.

Recent Quran burnings in neighboring Sweden have caused an international outcry. The governments of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UAE and Lebanon either condemned the burnings or suspended certain economic or political ties with Stockholm.

In June, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned he may halt Sweden’s accession to NATO if it continued to disrespect Turkey and the Muslim community with repeated Quran burnings. In July, hundreds of protesters stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad in response to a planned Quran burning.

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