TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The burning of the Muslim holy book by a Swedish-Danish far-right politician was denounced as a 'vile act' by the high representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.
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Under the protection of local police, Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish far-right political organization Hard Line, performed the stunt on Friday outside the Turkish embassy in Sweden.
"While the High Representative stresses the importance of upholding the freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, he also emphasizes that the act of Quran-burning, amounts to an expression of hatred towards Muslims," a spokesperson for Miguel Angel Moratinos said in a statement.
"It is disrespectful and insulting to the adherents of Islam and should not be conflated with freedom of expression," the statement added, Al Jazeera reported.
Moratinos, who heads a UN agency that describes itself as "devoted to promoting understanding across diverse communities", said he was concerned about the rise in "discrimination, intolerance and violence ... directed against members of many religious and other communities in various parts of the world".
He called for the building of "mutual respect" and promotion of "inclusive and peaceful societies rooted in human rights and dignity for all".
Shortly after Paludan burned a copy of the Quran Muslim countries condemned Swedish authorities for failing to ban the protest.
In a post on Twitter, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that while freedom of expression was a fundamental part of democracy, "what is legal is not necessarily appropriate."
"Burning books that are holy to many is a deeply disrespectful act," he said.