Denmark’s parliament has enacted legislation, prohibiting the “inappropriate treatment” of religious texts. Those found guilty of such actions now face fines or up to two years in jail. This decision comes in response to a surge in incidents involving the burning of the Quran, which has sparked outrage in Muslim nations.
Recently, Denmark and neighbouring Sweden have witnessed a rise in street protests linked to these acts, raising security concerns in the Scandinavian region. The Folketing, Denmark’s parliament, engaged in vigorous debates on Thursday, during which many opposition MPs contested the legislation. Inger Stojberg, leader of the Denmark Democrats, expressed concern, stating, “History will judge us harshly for this, and with good reason,” emphasising the potential impact on freedom of speech.
Despite opposition, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s coalition government asserted that the bill primarily targeted actions infringing upon religious sentiments, ensuring that criticism of religion would remain within the bounds of legal expression. The move was prompted by a series of incidents, including Quran burnings in front of foreign embassies.
Similarly, Sweden has faced Quran burnings, with its security service expressing concerns about a deteriorating security situation. In July, protesters set the Swedish embassy in Iraq ablaze. The government in Stockholm is presently contemplating a comparable legislative measure.