AFPThe press conference in Copenhagen
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 18:48
The Danish government is going to introduce a bill that would prohibit public damage to Korans and other religious books. This was announced by the government at a press conference.
Recently, protests have been regularly organized in the country in which Korans have been destroyed, burned or torn up. This led to tense relations with countries where many Muslims live. The Danish government was forced to temporarily tighten border controls.
Justice Minister Hummelgaard said at the press conference that there are “more civilized ways of expressing opinions than burning things”. According to the minister, the actions have no other purpose than “creating discord and hatred”. The government wants to punish the actions with a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.
‘We also have a racism provision’
Some Danish opposition parties believe that a ban violates freedom of expression. But Foreign Minister Rasmussen defended the upcoming law before: “We don’t have complete freedom of expression: we also have a racism provision. There are limits to what one can say.”
It is not known when parliament in Copenhagen will vote on the bill.
Correspondent Rolien Créton:
“The government initially wanted an amendment to the law that would put an end to burning the Quran, but decided to formulate the law more broadly. This is partly because the protests against the Quran were very diverse, such as tearing it up or kicking it. And a A Danish-Swedish right-wing extremist has smeared the Koran with pig’s blood, so that will also be a criminal offence.
At the press conference, the government was very clear about why they want the law: for security reasons. Quran burnings have led to an increased terror threat and are considered a threat to national security.
The problem, according to the government, is that the images are distributed via a live stream. The images also show the police standing around the Koran burning to protect the demonstrators. That may give the impression that Denmark as a society is behind those actions, said the foreign minister. They want to prevent escalation.”
Koran burnings have also taken place in Sweden recently. In that country, the threat level has been raised to the second highest level.
In the Netherlands, Pegida foreman Edwin Wagensveld tore up a Koran at the Turkish embassy in The Hague last week. That led to the Dutch deputy ambassador being summoned by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. A Danish diplomat was also summoned.