Attacks against the Muslim holy book Quran in Scandinavian nations, according to academics recognized for their work on religion, faith, and society in the UK, are “extremist acts that must be prevented.”
Alison Scott-Baumann, a professor of society and faith at SOAS University’s Centre for Islamic Studies, and David Thomas, a professor of theology and religion at the University of Birmingham, spoke with Somali Magazine about the rise of Islam phobia in Scandinavian countries, particularly Sweden and Denmark.
Scott-Baumann noted that the actions of burning the Quran in Scandinavian nations are a result of the effect generated by political discourses, emphasizing that these discourses are fed by Nazi philosopher Carl Schmidt’s theory of “creating enemies in society.”
“A democratic government should be able to distinguish between free expression and deliberate provocation. “This is a provocative act,” she stated.
She cited the EU’s ruling that “acts that incite violence are not acts of freedom of expression, but illegal acts.”
Despite this, Scott-Baumann stated that Scandinavian nations regard themselves as “privileged” in terms of free expression.
“These are, I believe, illegal acts in any civilised country,” she remarked.
According to Nazi philosopher Schmitt, in order to develop a tranquil society, it is necessary to create an internal adversary to be despised. “This is the current situation” in the Nordic nations, according to Scott-Baumann.
She went on to say that if society fabricates an adversary, people would aim their rage at the invented enemy rather than the government.
She emphasized that the issue of social media is more difficult to tackle, citing it as another reason why Quran burnings are so powerful since such messages spread in seconds.
Quran burnings are definitely ‘extremist acts’
“These are unquestionably extreme actions.” It is difficult to determine the exact motivation of the criminals. “But clearly, they are people who are anti-Islamic for whatever reason, and who knew that burning the Quran itself would elicit a reaction,” Thomas added.
He stated that the condemnation of attacks on the Quran around the world, including by the British government, is understandable: “The Quran being what it is for Muslims, much more than a book… it is understandable why Muslims should feel so insulted, and why the perpetrators decided to do this particular action.”
When asked whether governments should adopt laws to prevent attacks on religious books, he stated it is “very difficult” to do so since when a government passes a rule, there may be unintended consequences.
“It requires a lot of discussion and thinking,” he continued.
In recent months, Islam phobic people or organizations have committed several incidents of Quran burning and sacrilege, particularly in northern European and Nordic nations.