Denmark makes desecration of Holy Quran punishable crime

COPENHAGEN   -  Denmark’s parliament has ap­proved a groundbreaking law criminalising the public burning of religious texts, with a particu­lar focus on addressing protests in Muslim nations over Holy Qu­ran desecration.

The legislation, securing 94 votes in favour and facing op­position from 77 members in the 179-seat Folketing, specif­ically targets the “inappropri­ate treatment of writings with significant religious impor­tance for a recognised religious community.” The law, pend­ing formal approval by Queen Margrethe later this month, prohibits the public burn­ing, tearing, or defilement of holy texts, both in person and through disseminated videos. 

Offenders may face fines or up to two years in prison. The Min­istry of Justice underlines that the law aims to counteract “sys­tematic mockery,” contributing to an increased terrorism threat in Denmark, particularly in the wake of public protests involving Holy Quran burnings in Denmark and Sweden earlier this year.

Between July 21 and October 24, Denmark recorded 483 in­cidents of book burnings or flag burnings, prompting the intro­duction of the bill in August.

Amendments were made to address concerns about poten­tial impacts on freedom of ex­pression, emphasising the deli­cate balance between protected speech and national security.

Critics, including Inger Sto­jberg of the Denmark Demo­crats party, argue that restric­tions on criticising religion may undermine hard-fought liberal freedoms.

The centrist coalition govern­ment contends that the legisla­tion will minimally impact free speech, emphasising the con­tinued legality of other forms of criticising religion.

Meanwhile, Sweden is ex­ploring alternative approach­es to address Holy Quran des­ecrations, considering whether national security should play a role in police decisions regard­ing public protests.

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