Danish PM says desecration of Jewish holy books 'shouldn't happen' amid planned burnings

Mette Frederiksen spoke out after several burnings of holy books in recent months inciting global outrage


Old worn shabby leather-bound jewish books on open blurred Torah in the background. Closeup. Selective focus

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said Jewish holy books shouldn’t be desecrated after recent burnings of religious texts sparked global tensions.

Frederiksen spoke out after far-right activists burned copies of the Koran in Denmark and Sweden, inciting outrage in the Muslim world and demands that governments ban such acts.

There have also been threats to burn Jewish holy books outside the Israeli embassy in Sweden’s capital Stockholm prompting anger from Israel. 

Frederiksen told public broadcaster DR: “I think it would be wrong if someone stood there and burned the Bible. 

“I also don't think we should burn the Torah for the sake of those who belong to the Jewish faith.”

She added in an interview with broadsheet newspaper Weekendavisen: “I don’t like it when people burn books.”

Referencing a blasphemy law that was repealed in 2017, she said: “And until not many years ago, you couldn’t do it without consequence in Denmark.

“So there are many aspects to this, but our being in a new geopolitical reality naturally plays a part.”

Frederiksen went on to say that burning books was not an act of expression and restricting the act was therefore not a restriction of free speech.

The Danish and Swedish governments have condemned the burnings and are considering new laws that could stop them. 

But domestic critics say any such decisions would undermine freedom of speech that is protected in their constitutions.

Denmark also announced it was tightening border controls until next week to boost domestic security and prevent unwanted individuals from entering the country.

The Danish justice ministry said in a statement: “Authorities have today concluded that it is necessary at this time to increase the focus on who is entering Denmark, in order to respond to the specific and current threats.”

It comes as Danish far right politician Rasmus Paludan torched copies of Islam’s holy book the Quran outside a mosque in Copenhagen and the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm this month.

Chief rabbi of Denmark Jair Melchior condemned his actions and said: “A demented extremist like Paludan should not be given any attention. I have great respect for Muslims in Denmark for not responding to his provocation.”

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