Muslim grouping OIC says measures needed to prevent Koran desecration

CAIRO (Reuters) -An Islamic grouping of 57 states said on Sunday collective measures are needed to prevent acts of desecration to the Koran and international law should be used to stop religious hatred after the holy book was burned in a protest in Sweden.

The statement by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, most of whose members have a Muslim-majority population, was issued after an extraordinary meeting in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah called to discuss Wednesday’s incident.

“We must send constant reminders to the international community regarding the urgent application of international law, which clearly prohibits any advocacy of religious hatred,” OIC Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha said.

A man tore up and burned a Koran outside Stockholm’s central mosque on Wednesday, the first day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holidays. The act angered OIC member Turkey whose backing Sweden needs to gain entry to the NATO military alliance.

Swedish police had granted permission for a protest to take place. But after the burning, police charged the man who carried it out with agitation against an ethnic or national group.

The incident has triggered large protests in Baghdad in front of the Swedish Embassy. It has also been condemned by the United States.

Turkey in late January suspended talks with Sweden on its NATO application after a Danish far-right politician burned a copy of the Koran near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.

(Reporting by Omar Abdel Razek;Writing by Adam Makary and Lisa Barrington; Editing by David Goodman and Alison Williams)