KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — Some 80 people from the local chapter of Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir have gathered in front of the Swedish Embassy here in a show of protest against the burning of the Quran in Stockholm last week.
About 15 young children were spotted among the protesters who began assembling here at about 8.30am.
The group held up an assortment of flags, banners and posters – some which read “Does your religion teach you to insult others?” and “Our Prophet, Our Honour” – while chanting anti-Western sentiments in Malay like “hancur Sweden, hancur Barat” (destroy Sweden, destroy the West).
Some 40 policemen stood watch nearby. The pro-caliphate group leader Mu’adz Abu Thalhah who was equipped with a cordless microphone said three representatives from Hizbut Tahrir will hand over a memorandum of their objections to the Quran burning to the Swedish Embassy officials.
Last Saturday, Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan who leads a Danish party called Stram Kurs (which means Hard Line) burnt a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, sparking outrage across the Muslim world.
However, Swedish authorities have said Paludan’s act did not violate its laws.
In his speech, Mu’adz said Hizbut Tahrir will continue to hold peaceful demonstrations until the Swedish government makes Paludan apologise for burning the Quran.
“We call on the Swedish government to order Paludan to issue an apology to Muslims for his cruel insult to Islam which has angered Muslims around the world.
“As long as there is no apology, we will continue to hold demonstrations,” he said as the crowd cheered in agreement.
Mu’adz also urged the Malaysian government to mobilise its military forces to “teach” the Westerners a “lesson”.
“The only viable response is to teach them a lesson through jihad,” he said, referring to those who belittle Islam.
The group is expected to head to the Dutch Embassy here around 2pm today after the weekly Islamic Friday prayers to hand over another similar memorandum of objection.
Yesterday, Anwar expressed his support for Muslims to hold protests against the Swedish government even as he stressed the need for Muslims to bridge the divide with non-believers through intellectual engagements by educating critics about Islam.
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has also put out a statement deploring Paludan’s action as “an expression of hatred towards Muslims”.
More Muslims are expected to turn up outside the Swedish Embassy here later today to register their protest.