‘One in two’ in Denmark support ban on Quran burnings

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
‘One in two’ in Denmark support ban on Quran burnings
Police presence during a Quran burning in Copenhagen in April 2022. The Danish government says it wants to ban 'inappropriate treatment of objects of significant religious importance to a religious community'. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

Half of the Danish population supports a government proposal that would make it illegal to burn the Quran in public, a survey has found.


In the survey, conducted by institute Voxmeter on behalf of news wire Ritzau, 1,000 people were asked whether they want the proposed law change to be adopted.

Some 50.2 percent answered “yes”, 35 percent said “no” and 14.8 percent did not know, the pollster found.

The poll is the first to measure public opinion on the question since the government last week proposed a law change that would effectively ban public burnings of the Quran.

The government is set to table a bill that will "prohibit the inappropriate treatment of objects of significant religious importance to a religious community," Justice Minister Hummelgaard said last Friday, adding that the legislation was aimed especially at burnings and desecrations in public places.


The new legislation would be included in chapter 12 of Denmark's penal code, which covers national security.

Hummelgaard said that national security was the main "motivation" for the ban.


"We can't continue to stand by with our arms crossed while several individuals do everything they can to provoke violent reactions," he said.

At the end of July, the government said it would explore legal means of stopping protests involving the burning of holy texts in certain circumstances.

That came after diplomatic and public backlash in several Muslim countries after the Quran was repeatedly desecrated by individuals in Denmark and Sweden.

"The government desired a limited and precise legal intervention," Hummelgaard said last week.

"[Quran burnings] damage Denmark and Danish interests. It it risks damaging security for Danes abroad and here in Denmark," he said.

In a similar poll before the government announced the proposal, Voxmeter found 48 percent of its sample of 1,002 respondents to be in favour of banning Quran burnings.

The proposal has received criticism for imposing on Denmark’s free speech rights and representing the potential start of a “slippery slope” towards more curbs on expression.

Hummelgaard has rejected those criticisms, saying the government “has an overall responsibility for Denmark and all Danes. We are making a difficult legal and political judgement."

The coalition has no plans to enact more laws "of the same character", he said.

The question was put to members of the public by Voxmeter in its poll, with 50.3 percent saying they “completely agree or agree” that the ban could eventually lead to bans on other acts or statements considered offensive to religious groups.

Some 21.2 percent were neither in agreement or disagreement with the premise, and 18.1 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.


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