The vile attacks on the Qur’an, which took place in various parts of Europe this year, stand out as important hate crimes that should be examined in a historical context.
These attacks, seen in Western countries, are regarded as a sign of symbolic persecution directed not only to books but also to the sensitive veins of society.
The attacks on people’s beliefs and cultural values are reminiscent of the beginning of terrible events like the Jewish Holocaust.
The occurrence of alarming events involving the humiliation of the Qur’an in various European cities throughout 2023 brings to mind the great events that followed similar actions in the past.
Experts warn that the increase in such attacks on the holy may have serious consequences, emphasizing that precautions should be taken.
“What has been done is a hate crime”
Lena Posner-Korosi, leader of the Jewish community in Sweden, states that “burning holy books such as the Koran or the Torah is a hate crime.”
These actions have a deep meaning as they remind us of the Nazi policies that began during the Nazi era to burn banned books by Jewish authors.
It is known that from May 10, 1933, student groups under the influence of the Nazis held bonfires by burning “not-German” books. So much so that these burning actions continued by burning the works of well-known Jewish, liberal and leftist writers in university cities.
Is the rise of the far right fueling hate crime?
The rise of far-right ideologies in Europe, the spread of fascist worldviews in the political arena, and their inclusion in mainstream political parties are cited as reasons for the increase in hate crimes.
The arrival of far-right parties in government positions in many countries leads to the normalization of hate speech towards certain groups and the society becoming more intolerant towards minority groups.
According to European Commission reports, individuals and groups with common characteristics such as race, ethnicity, language and religion are increasingly being targeted. Especially the attacks of certain political figures and parties against certain groups cause the normalization of hate speech and hate crimes in society.
This is also seen in the so-called Qur’an burning actions brought back to the agenda by the Danish far-right party leader… These anti-Islamic provocations provide a striking example of the normalization of hatred.
What are the consequences of attacks on the Qur’an?
Experts draw attention to the importance of considering the historical context of attacks on holy places such as the burning of the Qur’an.
It is pointed out that similar actions in the past have led to widespread violence against minorities and weaker sections of society. It is predicted that these events may also tend to create a domino effect. It is argued that book burnings may be the beginning of a cycle that leads to systematic violence against a certain group of people.
Rashid Musa, former head of the Muslim Swedish Youth Organization, evaluates recent events with an emphasis on ‘historical context’. “The Swedish authorities allow the burning of the Qur’an on the grounds of freedom of expression, but we need to put this event in historical context,” he says. Drawing attention to what happened in Bosnia in the 1990s, he states that such incidents can lead to an increase in violence.
Experts also say that the consequences of acts of violence may escalate, posing a serious threat to Muslim individuals living in Europe and beyond. For this reason, the importance of taking measures to understand the painful experiences in the past and prevent similar events from happening again is emphasized.