Muslims across Pakistan took to the streets on Friday to mark a “Day of the Sanctity of Quran” following the burning of the Islamic holy book in Stockholm, Sweden. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for anti-Sweden protests, urging his compatriots to send a strong message by demonstrating against the incident. The rallies, which included lawyers, worshippers, and supporters of radical Islamist parties, demanded the severing of diplomatic ties with Sweden. Christians and minority groups also joined the protests to denounce the desecration of the Quran.
Anti-Sweden Protests in Lahore and Karachi
The largest anti-Sweden rallies were expected in Lahore, the eastern city of Pakistan, and Karachi, the country’s largest city. In Islamabad, lawyers holding copies of the Quran gathered in front of the Supreme Court, while worshippers outside mosques organized small rallies. The protesters called for immediate action against Sweden and criticized the Swedish police for allowing the burning of the Quran to take place.
Solidarity Among Muslims
The anger has been growing among Muslims worldwide since last week’s incident when a Christian man from Iraq burned the Quran outside a mosque in Stockholm during the festival of Eid al-Adha. Muslim leaders in Sweden have condemned the act, expressing their dismay. Prime Minister Sharif, in a televised speech, questioned the Swedish police’s handling of the situation, emphasizing the unity of the nation when it comes to the Quran.
Nationwide Protests for the Sanctity of Quran
Prime Minister Sharif took to Twitter on Friday, urging his fellow countrymen to participate in nationwide protests to defend the sanctity of the Quran. He emphasized the significance of the holy book and the unity of the nation. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in April 2022, also issued a call for protests. However, the supporters of Khan, Sharif, and other political parties organized separate rallies across the nation.
Tehreek-e-Labiak Pakistan (TLP) and the Boycott of Swedish Products
Among the groups participating in the anti-Sweden protests is Tehreek-e-Labiak Pakistan (TLP), a radical party known for its strong stance against the desecration of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. TLP gained prominence during Pakistan’s 2018 elections, campaigning primarily for the defense of the country’s blasphemy law, which mandates the death penalty for those who insult Islam. TLP supporters are calling for a boycott of all products from Sweden and the severing of diplomatic ties until the responsible individual is held accountable for burning the Quran.
The protests in Pakistan signify the deep reverence and importance Muslims attach to the Quran. The demonstrations aim to express solidarity, demand justice, and ensure the sanctity of the Islamic holy book.