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U.N. Human Rights Council passes resolution on religious hatred after Koran burning

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution on religious hate in response to Koran-burning protests. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 3 | The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution on religious hate in response to Koran-burning protests. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

July 12 (UPI) -- The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday approved a resolution calling on countries to take action against religious hatred amid a series of Koran-burning protests.

The council approved the measure that calls for members to "address, prevent and prosecute acts and advocacy of religious hatred" in a 28-12 vote that saw seven members abstain.

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The United States and many of its Western allies voted against the measure because of free speech concerns.

The resolution targeted groups that often burn and deface the religion's holy book, the Koran as a form of protest.

In one such incident last month, Turkey condemned Sweden for allowing Salwan Momika, a protester who immigrated to Sweden from Iraq, to obtain a police permit that allowed him to burn the book.

"Those who seek to become our allies in NATO, cannot tolerate or enable destructive behaviors of Islamophobic and xenophobic terrorists," Fahrettin Altun, the head of communications for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said then.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said people should feel free to practice their faith the way they see fit and the burning of the Koran serves no purpose beyond to "express contempt and inflame anger."

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He accused some of weaponizing religious differences for political gain and asked for the public to not fall into the trap.

"We must not allow ourselves to be reeled in and become instrumentalized by these merchants of chaos for political gain -- these provocateurs who deliberately seek out ways to divide us," Turk said.

The most recent protest in Sweden prompted Turkey to stall the entry of Sweden into NATO until this week because of groups there using free speech laws to burn the Koran, angering Muslims around the world.

However, Erdogan, waived the veto on Monday, allowing Sweden to enter the alliance while pushing for Turkey to be granted entry into the European Union in exchange.

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