JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia reaffirmed on Monday that desecration of the Holy Qu’ran is unacceptable under any justifications and there should be practical steps to put an end to repetition of the incidents of burning of the holy book. Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan said this while addressing remotely the opening session of the Extraordinary Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which groups 57 Muslim countries.

The meeting was convened, at the request of Saudi Arabia, which is chairing the 14th Islamic Summit, to discuss the measures to be taken to address the repeated incidents of desecration and burning of the copies of the Holy Qur’an in a number of Western countries, such as Sweden and Denmark.

Prince Faisal renewed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation and denunciation of the repeated attacks on the sanctity of the Holy Qur’an, while emphasizing that these provocative actions cannot be accepted under any justifications. “These are in violation of international covenants that call for harmony, peace and rapprochement, and are in direct contradiction with the international efforts seeking to spread the values of tolerance and moderation, and rejecting extremism, and undermines the principles of mutual respect necessary for maintaining better relations between peoples and states,” he said.

The minister emphasized that the OIC has the greatest role in coordination, cooperation and integration with various other Islamic organizations to defend the values of tolerance and peace, protect and spread the true image of Islam, and reject and combat intolerance, extremism, and spread of hatred and violence. He also drew attention to the outcome of the efforts of the OIC member states in the adoption of the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on July 12, 2023 that aimed at combating religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

Prince Faisal called on the OIC member states to unite efforts in order to take practical and effective steps to confront these attacks, noting that the OIC Charter emphasizes protecting and defending the true image of Islam, confronting distortion of the image of Islam, and encouraging dialogue between civilizations and religions.

The minister underscored that the freedom of expression shall be deemed a moral value that fosters respect and coexistence among peoples and not a tool to spread hatred and clash between cultures and peoples. He also pointed out to the need to spread the values of tolerance and moderation and reject all forms of practices that generate hatred, violence and extremism.

From the Saudi side, the extraordinary meeting is being attended by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Eng. Waleed Al-Khereiji, Advisor at the Undersecretariat for Multiple International Affairs Dr. Abdullah Al-Tayer, and the Kingdom's Permanent Representative to OIC Dr. Saleh Al-Suhaibani.

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