The leader of the Norwegian anti-Islamist organization Stop the Islamization of Norway (SION) publicly burned a Quran before being stopped by a Syrian refugee. The incident raised questions about freedom of speech and hate speech.
The incident occurred during an anti-islamization rally. Hundreds attended although most of them were counter-protesters. The situation was resolved by police officers who stopped the conflict from escalating.
The demonstration took place despite the fact that police had not authorized it, but local authorities agreed to host the event. After the incident, it was reported that the police arrested both the Syrian refugee and the anti-Islamic activist.
The Syrian refugee who stopped the man from burning the Quran was later identified as Ilyas, a Syrian refugee who owns a restaurant in Norway. The man became a hero to the Muslim community around the world, who celebrated his bravery in stopping the incident from escalating.
We salute you #ilyas not for just being a Muslim's Legend however for being the one Allah decides to shield his Book The Glorious QURAN— STR (@STR2k19) November 22, 2019
I am sure you will be asked on the day of judgment for whom you did that action and you do have an Answer now .#ilyas_Hero_of_Muslim_Ummah pic.twitter.com/LtGVmbt5Zw
Salute to brave #Ilyas for displaying courage to stop an absolutely deplorable action. Such Islamophobia based provocations only promote hatred & extremism. All religions are and must stay respectable. Islamophbia is threat to global peace and harmony.#TheGloriousQuran#Norway pic.twitter.com/CRahq5mazf— Asif Ghafoor (@peaceforchange) November 22, 2019
On the other hand, others argued that burning the Quran should be considered freedom of speech, and that Norway allows this freedom.
Im one of them ,in Norway we are aloud to have rallys like this . It's aloud to burn your own book . Thank god that de still have free speech.— Lena Andreassen (@AndreassenLena) November 21, 2019
The video came as a shock to the Muslim community promoting some Muslim nations to speak out.
The Muslim-majority country of Pakistan summoned the Norwegian ambassador to convey concern over the incident and condemned the incident.
A statement from the Pakistani Foreign Ministry stated, "such actions could not be justified in the name of freedom of expression."
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