Denmark’s Response to Quran Burnings: Proposed Law and Security Measures
The Danish government has suggested a new law to prevent people from burning the Quran openly in public. This idea came after a series of Quran burnings in Denmark caused anger in Muslim countries. The Justice Minister, Peter Hummelgaard, mentioned that these burnings were causing harm to Denmark’s reputation and could put the safety of the Danish people at risk.
Under this proposed law, mistreating the Quran or the Bible inappropriately would become a criminal offense. People found guilty could face a fine or even be sent to jail for up to two years. The government, which leans towards the right, wants to show the world that it takes this issue seriously.
The Foreign Minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, revealed that Denmark had seen about 170 protests recently, with copies of the Quran being burned in front of foreign embassies. These actions have even increased the threat of terrorism according to Denmark’s intelligence service.
Notably, Sweden, which is Denmark’s neighbouring country, has also faced similar Quran burnings, leading to security concerns. However, both Denmark and Sweden were hesitant to respond due to their strong support for freedom of expression. Sweden even removed its blasphemy laws a long time ago.
Denmark’s decision to consider this law was triggered by more Quran burnings in July, both in Denmark and Sweden. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) urged its member countries to take action against nations where such desecration of the Quran was happening.
The Danish government emphasizes that this proposed law is not meant to restrict speech, writing, or satirical drawings. They believe that burning religious texts only creates division and hatred, rather than contributing positively to society. Deputy Prime Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen pointed out that freedom of expression is important in their democracy, but it should be exercised responsibly.
The Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, mentioned that Sweden won’t follow Denmark’s approach because it would likely require changing their constitution. However, they are considering altering their public order law to prevent gatherings that could harm public security.
The Danish government aims to present these law changes on September 1 and hopes to have them approved by the end of the year. This proposed ban is likely to be added to a part of the criminal code that already forbids publicly insulting a foreign state, its flag, or other symbols.
In summary, the Danish government wants to stop public Quran burnings after a series of such incidents sparked outrage in Muslim countries. They plan to make it illegal to mistreat religious texts and symbols, aiming to send a message to the world and safeguard Denmark’s security. The proposed law change isn’t about limiting freedom of expression, but about preventing actions that fuel division and hatred.