Saturday, February 4, 2023

Indonesia, Turkey summon Sweden envoys over desecration

Indonesia, Turkey summon Sweden envoys over desecration

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia summoned Sweden's envoy on Tuesday over the desecration incident by a far-right activist in Stockholm at the weekend, officials in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation said.

Swedish-Danish politician Rasmus Paludan on Saturday torched a copy of the Islamic holy book in front of Turkey's embassy in the Swedish capital, stoking the anger of Ankara which said it would not support the Scandinavian country's bid for NATO membership.

Sweden's ambassador to Indonesia, Marina Berg, was summoned as Jakarta lodged an official complaint against the anti-Islamic act, Indonesian foreign ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah told AFP.

"Yes, [we will meet her] within this week," Faizasyah said, without disclosing a date.  The Swedish embassy confirmed Berg would hold a meeting with an official from Indonesia's foreign ministry, without specifying the day it would take place.

Swedish leaders have roundly condemned Paludan's actions but defended their country's broad definition of free speech. Paludan's desecration sparked rallies outside Swedish missions in several countries, including Turkey and Iraq, where protesters torched the Swedish flag on Monday and a policeman and seven protesters were injured.

Meanwhile, Turkey summoned the Dutch ambassador to express its deep displeasure with an anti-Islam protest in The Hague. The Turkish foreign ministry said it condemned "in the strongest possible terms the vile attack of an anti-Islamic person" in the Dutch city on Sunday.

The Dutch public broadcaster NOS said Edwin Wagensveld, who heads the Dutch chapter of the German anti-Islam group Pegida, tore pages out of the Muslim holy book during a one-man protest.

Images on social media also showed him walking on the torn pages of the holy book. The summons came days after a similar protest outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm threatened to sink Sweden's ambitions to join the NATO defence bloc.