In January this year an extremist group in Sweden was reported to have burned the Holy Quran. And recently, on Friday 24th March, 2023 another extremist group burned the Holy Quran in the front of the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Much as we advocate religious tolerance and freedom, we, members of the People’s Democratic League (PDL) unequivocally condemn this criminal, heinous, hate-filled, fascist terrorist act. It is a racist and provocative act, which should be condemned by all good and sane-thinking people across the world. There should not be discrimination of any kind and we cannot be selective in the condemning these despicable acts. We call on the civilized international community not to allow this act to give expression anywhere, since the motive is to create a rift within communities.
We believe the architects of this vile act should endeavour to turn the pages of the Quran and understand the message contained therein. The Quran preaches peace, mercy, compassion and the oneness of the Creator-Almighty Allah. It preaches also the values of love, solidarity, knowledge and gives explanation about the metaphysical world that is both logical and convincing.
Like the Bible’s teaching about the good works of the son of the blessed Mary (Mariam), the Quran encourages humanity to learn from the lessons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Unto Him). There is every good reason for the civilized international community to unite in condemning these acts of burning Holy Books and the wanton attacks on the illuminating personality of the Prophet of Islam.
What happened in Sweden and now Denmark showed no respect for religion, let alone religious tolerance or right to one’s freedom of religion. Our understanding is that the Qur’an contains the divine words revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Unto Him). This divine Book is sacred, its value is priceless and its recitation is an act of worship. The Quran is one of the greatest miracles of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Unto Him), and any attempts to desecrate its sanctity and holiness would be considered an Islamophobia, which Muslims won’t forget.
It should be recalled that the United States based Newsweek Magazine published an article on 9th May, 2005 that says American soldiers in the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, dared to desecrate the Holy Quran by flushing it down the toilet. The aim it was reported was to harm Muslim prisoners in that prison at Guantanamo Bay particular and Muslims in general, as well as followers of other religions who believe also in the message contained in the Holy Quran. We advocate respect and reverence towards Holy Books, including and in particular the Quran and Bible.
By issuing this statement, we call on the competent authorities in Copenhagen (Denmark) to take action against perpetrators of this terrorist act. Such acts do not only inflame the feelings and minds of Muslims all over the world, but also serve only to widen the gap between Muslims and the West.
We appeal to the Muslim community in Sierra Leone not to lose common sense, but act towards keeping the flag of the country’s Inter-Religious Council flying, while at the same time promoting the peaceful, harmony, solidarity and friendship amongst faiths.
(Chief) Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh
Founder and National Leader
The People’s Democratic League (PDL)