Indonesia says freedom of expression shouldn’t be a free pass for Quran desecration

Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, said on Tuesday, August 29, that freedom of expression should not give people a free pass to discriminate against others. The statement follows the multiple Quran-burning incidents in Denmark and Sweden.

Retno made the statement at the Jakarta Plurilateral Dialogue, which focused on the need to respect other people’s faith. Retno drew attention to the wave of Quran burnings in Sweden, saying that the incidents were “only one example” of rising religious intolerance.

“Freedom of expression does not mean freedom to discriminate and hurt others. As such freedom of expression cannot be promoted at the expense of freedom from discrimination,” Retno said at the forum.

According to Retno, a “clear legal framework” is crucial to combat religion-based discrimination. The international human rights treaty commits nations to prohibit religious hatred by law. Indonesia, which is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, have already endorsed the treaty. The same goes for Sweden.

Sweden and Denmark have witnessed a number of Quran-burnings since the beginning of the year. These have sparked an uproar from the Muslim nations.

The Danish government has recently announced a bill that could make the Quran burning a punishable act by fines or a jail sentence of up to two years.

Reuters earlier this month reported that Sweden have no plans to change its freedom of speech laws. Sweden claims it will look into allowing the police to stop people from setting the Quran on fire in public, if the act poses a threat to national security.


About Miabell Mallikka

Miabell Mallikka is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Miabell Mallikka

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