Following the burning of the Quran in Stockholm in late June 2023 by an Iraqi-born refugee, Egyptian journalist Ahmad Rif'at, a columnist for the independent Egyptian weekly Veto, urged the Arabs living in Sweden not to respond by burning the scriptures of other religions, but rather to show respect for all religions. Instead, he advised them to put Sweden's tolerance to the test by holding protests "against the Zionist lies about the crematoria" or by marking the anniversary of Hitler's death.
Ahmad Rif'at (Image: Vetogate.com)
The following are translated excerpts from his column:
"To the Arabs in Sweden!
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"No matter what insane the crimes or distortions [are perpetrated] by some party or other -- whether [this party] helps or supports [the burning of the Quran] or keep silent [about it] -- it is inconceivable that a Muslim, even an extremist one, should ask permission to burn the divine scriptures of some other religion, or even contemplate [this possibility]! That would be grounds for expelling [this Muslim] from the fold of Islam itself.
"This country [Sweden] has laws and standards of its own -- especially when it comes to its attitude to religions -- which it formulated years ago based on [its] different attitude to religious norms…, and which gradually accumulated. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to go in that direction [of burning the scriptures of other religions].
"Moreover, by [refraining from this response] we can highlight the Muslims' love and respect for all religions and our absolute conviction that degrading any religion [is an act that] degrades us all. This may help amend the wrong impression [people have] about Islam and the Muslims!
"[Instead], we should put the Swedish authorities to a real test by holding a protest against the Zionist historical lies about the crematoria [in the Holocaust] and about other issues, [lies] which caused an intellectual of the caliber of French philosopher Roger Garaudy to be prosecuted without mercy, even though he was in his 90s.
"So demand to hold a demonstration to mark the anniversary of Hitler's death, for example, and then we can finish this conversation!"