Kuwait announced this week that it will print thousands of copies of the Quran in Swedish to be distributed in the Nordic country, calling it an effort to educate the Swedish people on Islamic “values of coexistence.” The plan was announced after the desecration of a Quran during a one-man anti-Islam protest that Swedish police authorized in Stockholm last month.
Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said the Public Authority for Public Care would print and distribute 100,000 translated copies of the Muslim holy book in Sweden, to “affirm the tolerance of the Islamic religion and promote values of coexistence among all human beings,” according to the country’s state news agency Kuna.
On June 28, Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi Christian who had sought asylum in Sweden on religious grounds, stood outside the Stockholm Central Mosque and threw a copy of the Quran into the air and burned some of its pages.
The stunt came on the first day of Eid-al-Adha, one of the most important festivals on the Islamic calendar, and it triggered anger among Muslims worldwide. Protests were held in many Muslim nations, including Iraq, where hundreds of angry demonstrators stormed the Swedish embassy compound.
The U.S. State Department condemned the desecration of the Quran in Stockholm, but said Swedish authorities were right to authorize the small protest where it occurred.
“We believe that demonstration creates an environment of fear that will impact the ability of Muslims and members of other religious minority groups from freely exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief in Sweden,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said. “We also believe that issuing the permit for this demonstration supports freedom of expression and is not an endorsement of the demonstration’s actions.”
The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution Wednesday condemning the burning of the Quran as an act of religious hatred. The U.S. and a handful of European nations voted against the resolution, which was introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), arguing that it contradicts their perspectives on human rights and freedom of expression.
A total of 28 countries voted in favor of the resolution, while 12 voted against it and seven abstained.