Far-right Dutch extremist desecrates Quran in front of Turkish embassy

Edwin Wagensveld, head of the Netherlands' chapter of the far-right Islamophobic movement Pegida holds up a Quran before tearing up, during a demonstration in front of the Turkish embassy in The Hague. (Photo/AFP)

A Dutch far-right extremist has trampled on and tore up a copy of the Quran at a demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in The Hague, infuriating dozens of counter-protesters.

The Dutch government had already condemned the holding of the Islamophobic demonstration on Friday ahead of the event, but said it had no legal powers to prevent it.

Edwin Wagensveld, who leads the Dutch branch of the far-right group Pegida, damaged a copy of the Quran, AFP news agency correspondents witnessed.

Two other people accompanied him.

Police had sealed off access to the street where the Turkish embassy is located, and there were around fifty counter-protesters also present.

Some began throwing stones at Wagensveld when he tore up pages from the Quran, the holy book of Islam.

Around 20 police equipped with shields and batons intervened when some of the crowd tried to chase after him as he left.

On Friday morning Dilan Yesilgoz, the Netherlands' Turkish-born Justice Minister, described the plan to destroy the holy book as "fairly primitive and pathetic".

But the country's laws authorised such a demonstration, she added.

Wagensveld nevertheless faces trial for comments he made during a similar demonstration in January, when he tore up a copy of the Quran, outside parliament while likening the book to Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf".

A T-shirt he wore at Friday's demonstration made a similar claim.

Geert Wilders, the leader of another far-right party, the PVV, posted a message online supporting Friday's Islamophobic demonstration by Pegida.

Quran desecration in Europe

Similar attacks on the Quran have taken place in other European countries recently.

In late July, two men set fire to a copy of the Quran in front of the Swedish parliament, and similar incidents have taken place in Denmark this year.

Similar Islamophobic events have provoked severe criticism and sometimes anger in several Muslim countries.

After the desecration of the Quran in Sweden, Stockholm faced a wave of condemnation from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Thousands protested in Pakistan and Iraq, Morocco recalled its ambassador to Sweden, and Iran delayed naming a new ambassador to the country in protest of the event.


Source: TRT