Norway’s ambassador was summoned by Pakistan’s foreign ministry following the burning of the Quran by the leader of the Stop Islamisation in Norwat (SIAN) in Kristiansand last weekend.
This was according to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Saturday.
“The Norwegian ambassador was called in today to the Foreign Ministry to convey the deep concern of the government and the people of Pakistan after the violation of the Qur’an in Kristiansand,” the Foreign Ministry wrote.
It was newspaper Dagen that first mentioned the press release in Norway.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Norway’s ambassador Kjell-Gunnar Eriksen attended a meeting in Pakistani Foreign Ministry on Saturday.
“At the meeting, he made it clear that the Norwegian authorities are sharply distancing themselves from the burning of the Koran by SIAN in Kristiansand. He also made it clear that Norwegian police stopped the demonstration for security reasons and that in Norway everyone has the freedom of expression and the right to freely practise their faith,” press contact Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde said in an email.
It was during a demonstration in Kristiansand on Saturday last week that SIAN’s leader Lars Thorsen set fire to a copy of the Koran.
The police were notified of the act in advance but they did not allow it. Thorsen nevertheless set fire to the book while demonstrating in the town square.
The police then intervened and extinguished the fire while angry counter-protesters attacked Thorsen.
Calls for a boycott of Norway
Muslims around the world reacted strongly against the burning of the Quran. NRK reported on Friday that #Boycottnorway is now being used on social media to call for a boycott of Norway as a result of the incident.
“We have registered the reactions in social media in Pakistan,” wrote communications director Hanne Knudsen of Telenor in an email to NRK.
Pakistan condemned the action
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Saturday that Pakistan condemned the action and that the incident hurt the feelings of 1.3 billion Muslims around the world. It added that such actions cannot be justified in the name of freedom of speech.
“Norwegian authorities have been urged to bring those responsible to justice, and to prevent repetitions of such actions in the future,” said the statement.
“Pakistan’s ambassador to Oslo has also been asked to convey Pakistan’s protest and deep concern to the Norwegian authorities,” it added.
Agder police confirmed on Thursday that they are investigating the burning of the Quran and the investigation has been launched under Section 185 of the Penal Code.
Section 185 is also known as the racism paragraph. So far, the case law in Norway has been that the burning of holy scriptures is not covered by the section of the Penal Code on hate speech.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today