Retno Says to Danish Foreign Minister: Don’t Hide Behind Freedom of Expression

Jakarta, MINA – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi expressed her direct stance towards Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen after the incident of burning the Qur’an in front of the Indonesian Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark on Friday.

She emphasized to the Danish foreign minister that burning the Qur’an cannot be called freedom of expression.

Retno said that the burning of the Qur’an deeply hurt Muslims in the world and spread hatred. According to her, the incident could spread hatred and hurt Muslims.

“I said don’t hide behind freedom of expression,” said Retno in Jakarta on Monday.

“(Burning the Qur’an) hurts Muslims all over the world and should not be done. This can spread hatred and is very different from our desire to continue to maintain interfaith dialogue,” said Retno.

She emphasized that Indonesia strongly condemns the burning of the Qur’an in front of the Indonesian Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark. According to Retno, Indonesia has sent a diplomatic note to the Danish Government.

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“We strongly condemn the burning of the holy Qur’an,” said Retno.

Retno said that every time there was an act of burning the Qur’an, Indonesia always sent very strong diplomatic notes to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Including summoning the Danish ambassador in Jakarta and the business attorney of the relevant country.

“So, every time there is this action (burning the Qur’an) we send a strong protest note,” said Retno.

Meanwhile, the Director General for the Americas and Europe of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Umar Hadi, said that the burning of the Qur’ran in front of the Indonesian Embassy in Denmark was carried out by an individual. The burning was carried out in sequence in front of other embassies.

“Next to us is the Moroccan embassy, ​​he also burned it,” said Umar.

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Umar said Indonesia together with the OIC member countries and the UN Human Rights Council urged all countries to make rules that prohibit people from insulting religious symbols. “We don’t want an overreaction so that there is violence. That’s what’s dangerous,” he said.

On various occasions, the Danish Government actually regretted the burning of the Qur’aan. Late last month, Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen even hoped that his country’s efforts to draft legal tools to prevent the recurrence of acts of blasphemy on the Koran would help defuse the growing international conflict with a number of Muslim countries.

However, this effort was quickly defeated by the actions of right-wing groups who continued to burn the Qur’an.

“The fact that we are signaling, both in (internal) Denmark and abroad that we are working on it (a law to prevent blasphemy) will hopefully help reduce the problems we face,” Rasmussen told reporters after attending the meeting in parliament, 31 July 2023 ago.

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Members of the Danish right-wing group, Danske Patrioter, have once again carried out the Qur’an burning. The action was carried out in front of the Turkish Embassy (Embassy) building in Copenhagen, Saturday.

The day before, the group also burned the Qur’an in front of several embassies in Copenhagen, including Indonesia.

When burning the Qur’an in front of the Turkish Embassy, ​​members of the Danske Patrioter also shouted anti-Islamic slogans.

Danske Patrioter broadcast the action live on its social media accounts. Because it is still seen as a form of freedom of expression, the act of burning the Qur’an by Danske Patrioter members received escort and protection from the local police. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)