MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Moscow strongly condemns the disgraceful and provocative action of burning a copy of the Quran in Stockholm and urges that measures be taken against the radical activists, Gennady Askaldovich, Ambassador at Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in a statement circulated on Monday.
"On Saturday, January 21, another shameful and provocative attack by radicals on Islam took place in Stockholm. Rasmus Paludan, leader of the extreme rightist party Hard Line, known for his antics, burned the book held sacred by Muslims, the Holy Quran, in protest against Turkey's position on a number of issues on the international agenda," said Askaldovich, special envoy of the Russian foreign minister for cooperation on issues of respect for the right to freedom of religion,
"The action was carried out with the knowledge of Swedish law enforcement authorities, hiding behind 'freedom of speech,'" he pointed out.
"We condemn and reject such criminal actions. We call for action against the radicals," he stressed.
The diplomat pointed out that this was not the first time radicals in Europe had demonstrated against Islam. "Acts of vandalism against books and images sacred to believers have been repeatedly seen at their public events, which are still allowed in tolerant Europe," he stressed.
"The total defiance and ignorance of such radically-minded youngsters shows the true attitude of the ‘civilized West’ toward those who are not among their equals, in their opinion. Nothing new for the Old World, though," he noted.
"Political libertinage and permissiveness, masked by pretty words about 'freedom of speech and expression,' lead to incitement of religious hatred and insult the feelings of believers - this time Muslims," Askaldovich said.