The Maldives has joined a growing number of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members in strongly condemning the recent desecration of copies of the Holy Quran in The Hague, Netherlands. 

The incident took place on 23 September 2023, when Edwin Wagensveld, the leader of the Islamophobic group PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West), tore copies of the Quran in front of the embassies of Türkiye, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

In a press release, the Maldivian government expressed concern over the growing number of incidents involving religious intolerance, negative stereotyping, hatred, and violence against Muslims. They reiterated their call for a concerted global effort to combat the rise of Islamophobia and hate speech.

The Maldives stated that the public acts of desecration of the Holy Quran cannot be justified under the guise of freedom of speech and expression. They emphasised the need for countries to adopt national laws and policies that prevent and prosecute acts and advocacy of religious hatred that incite discrimination or violence.

Pakistan condemned the acts as “senseless and deeply offensive.” Islamabad urged governments worldwide to prevent racist and Islamophobic acts which incite religious hatred.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry noted that the actions contravene the spirit of the resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2022, which marked 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. They have conveyed their concerns to the Dutch authorities, demanding proactive measures.

The General Secretariat of the OIC also condemned these acts of desecration, terming them as “provocative” and in violation of international law, specifically Articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

In July 2023, the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers adopted a resolution against the repeated incidents of desecration of the Quran, particularly in Sweden and Denmark. This latest event in the Netherlands serves as yet another painful reminder of the escalating challenges of religious intolerance.