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Netherlands: Turkey Protests Tearing up of Koran in the Hague

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On Friday, the anti-Islam movement, Pegida, held a protest in front of the Turkish embassy in the Hague. Their Dutch leader, Edwin Wagensveld, tore up a Koran. Also present were several Muslim counter-demonstrators who yelled, threw rocks, and had to be driven back by police.

The top Dutch diplomat in Ankara has been summoned to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as his Danish counterpart (due to Koran burnings in that country). The government of Pakistan has also officially condemned the incident. 

The below article from today’s Algemeen Dagblad, which also has a video of the incident, is translated from Dutch by Fousesquawk. We are working to try and get some local video translated as well.

Caption: Pegida leader Edwin Wagensveld, with a counter-demonstration by Muslims in the background during a protest by the anti-Islam movement, Pegida, in front of the Turkish embassy.

Turkey calls the Netherlands on the carpet after tearing up of Koran

The Dutch deputy ambassador in the Turkish capital of Ankara has been called on the carpet by Turkey. That is confirmed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Turkey summoned the diplomat after Pegida leader Edwin Wagensveld had torn up a Koran near the Turkish embassy in the Hague.

The deputy ambassador was told that Turkey is “troubled” by the continuing violations of the Koran and “strongly condemns” such actions, CNN Turk earlier reported. The top Danish diplomat also had to show up after incidents with the Koran in Danmark, according to Turkish media.

According to (the Ministry) of Foreign Affairs, the deputy ambassador explained that the Netherlands considers the tearing up of the Koran a “completely tasteless and deliberately provocative act”.  But the diplomat also stresses that freedom of expression is an important fundamental right in the Netherlands. “Ultimately, in the Netherlands, it is up to the courts to determine if the law has been violated, and not up to the government.”

Turkey has repeatedly expressed its disapproval of public violations of the Koran in Western lands. At the end of July, Ankara expressed its anger over a Koran burning in Sweden. That country wants to join NATO and therefore needs the approval of Turkey.

 Counter-demonstrators also came to Pegida leader Edwin Wagensveld’s event on Friday. They shouted, among other things, “Shame on you” and there were rocks thrown. Wagensveld, in turn, said in the direction of the Turkish embassy, “You don’t belong here”.

Caption beneath photo: Pegida leader Edwin Wagensveld tears up a Koran during a protest by the anti-Islam movement Pegida in front of the Turkish embassy.

Pakistan also has condemned the incident as “very offensive”. The Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls the deliberate damage to the Holy Book as hurtful for all Muslims in the world. Pakistan is asking the Netherlands to ensure that such “hateful and Islamophobic acts” can not take place. The Pakistani ministry says that nations are obliged under international law to prevent”incitement to hate”.  The deliberate damage to a Koran, according to (Pakistan) does not fall under freedom of expression.

Great outrage

Similar incidents in other European countries have caused great outrage in Muslim countries. Sweden saw the recent need to raise the terror threat level after Koran burnings. Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz said last week he would take into account that the denigrating or burning of a Koran, also in the Netherlands, can lead to a heightened terror threat.

Wagensveld has previously torn up a Koran, which led to protests. The Koran is the holy book for Muslims. The leader of the anti-Islam movement, Pegida, has to appear in court for insulting  (an ethnic) group because, during the tearing of (the Koran), he said, among other things, that the Koran “is a fascist book”.

See below the images recorded during the Pegida event Friday.


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