SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

Denmark plans to ban public Koran burnings


The Danish government plans to criminalise the burning of the Koran and other religious scriptures with up to two years in prison, Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard says in Copenhagen.

The public burning of the Koran, the Bible or the Torah will be a criminal offence in future, he said.

The recent burnings of Islam's holy book in protests in Sweden and Denmark, both well-known for their commitment to free speech, have led to violent reactions and much criticism in Muslim-majority countries as well as diplomatic trouble for the two Nordic countries.

"These are mocking acts that harm the security of Danes both abroad and at home," Hummelgaard said.

He added that it was not a question of what one was allowed to think and say, but of more civil ways of expressing oneself.

Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said the move was an important signal.

Due to several public Koran burnings during the northern hemisphere summer, the terror threat in the country has increased significantly, he said.

However, seven of the nine opposition parties in Denmark wrote in a joint statement earlier this month that they share the view that freedoms must always carry more weight than "religious dogmas".

After reports had emerged that jihadist groups had allegedly called on Muslims to launch retaliation attacks for the recent desecrations of the Koran in Sweden and Denmark, the Danish domestic intelligence service PET confirmed new security threats against Sweden and Denmark.

Both countries are now making efforts to de-escalate the tensions and minimise security threats.

The Koran burnings have been carried out by groups seeking to provoke Muslims.

The protests fall under freedom of speech in both countries and are legal.