British academics slam attacks on Qur’an as ‘extremist acts’

Alison Scott-Baumann, a Professor of Society and Faith at the Centre for Islamic Studies at SOAS University, and David Thomas, a Professor of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham, made the remarks during an interview with Anadolu Agency about the increasing Islamophobic attacks in Nordic countries on Saturday.  
Scott-Baumann noted that the burnings of the holy Muslim book in Sweden and Denmark are “an act of provocation,” arguing that “a democratic government should be able to tell the difference between free speech and deliberate provocation.”
She went on to say that these are “illegal acts” in any civilized country, recalling the European Union’s decision that “acts that incite violence are not freedom of expression but illegal acts.”
However, the academic emphasized that Scandinavian countries see themselves as “privileged” in terms of freedom of expression.
Thomas, for his part, stated that the desecrations of the Qur’an “are definitely extreme actions.”
“But clearly, they are people who are anti-Islamic, for whatever reason, and who knew that to perform this action of burning the Qur’an itself will provoke a reaction,” he said.
Thomas further noted that “it is understandable why Muslims should feel so insulted, and why the perpetrators decided to do this particular action” because Qur’an is much more than a holy book for Muslims.
In response to whether governments should pass laws to prevent attacks on religious books, he said that it is “very difficult “to do so because, there may be some implications in that law that the government cannot foresee.
“It requires a lot of discussion and thinking,” he added.
Over the past month, the holy Muslim book has been subject to acts of desecration by extremist elements multiple times in Sweden and Denmark, whose governments have sanctioned and justified such insults as “freedom of expression.”
The sacrilegious acts have ignited the ire of the entire Muslim community across the globe. Several countries have summoned or expelled Swedish and Danish ambassadors.
The Nordic countries have deplored the desecration of the Qur’an but claimed that they cannot prevent it under constitutional laws protecting freedom of speech.

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