Palestinian Christian Leader Responds to Burning of Quran in Sweden: This is What He Said

Archbishop Atallah Hanna (center) at an anti-Israeli occupation protest in the Palestinian city of Al-Khalil (Hebron), in 2015. (Photo: via MEMO)

Reactions and condemnations of the burning of the Muslim Holy Quran in Sweden on Wednesday continued. One of Palestine’s most respected Christian authorities, Atallah Hanna added his voice to those who raised their voices in solidarity with Muslims.

Muslims Not Alone 

The Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia in Jerusalem Archbishop Hanna said in a statement that “it is painful and shameful nowadays for someone to burn the Quran in Sweden and to believe that this is heroism and freedom of expression,” adding “it is also unfortunate that the Swedish authorities have allowed this, and this is something that cannot be justified and accepted in any way.”

In his statement, Hanna said that “We consider what happened not to be an attack on the Quran and Muslims alone, but rather an attack on the human, moral and civilized values that everyone must possess.” He emphasized that all “religious symbols are sacred, and insulting religions cannot be considered freedom of expression.”

On June 28, a man tore up and burned a copy of the Holy Quran outside Stockholm’s central mosque, after Swedish police granted permission for a protest to take place.

Hanna’s Statement

These are selected excerpts from Archbishop Atallah Hanna’s statement: 

“We express our condemnation and denunciation of this unjustified and unacceptable act, which should not affect the fraternal relations that bind members of all religions in our world. 

“Individual acts of this kind should not affect the culture of love and brotherhood, especially since an act of this kind represents only those who committed it and a limited group of people who believe in these ideas, which are a combination of backwardness, extremism, hatred and other manifestations of negativity.

“This act falls within the framework of inhumane and uncivilized practices aimed at stirring up strife in our world and spreading a culture of hatred among people. Therefore, we must reject actions of this kind, and we must not allow any party to exploit this heinous act to spread a culture of hate and racism in our societies.”

“It is a completely unacceptable act, and we assert our rejection of any insult to religions and religious symbols.”

“Our world has different religions and multiple sects, and we demand that there be coexistence and cooperation among all those who belong to these in the service of humanity and in service of just issues, foremost of which is the Palestinian cause.” 

(The Palestine Chronicle, MEMO)

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