The BBC reported today that a protestor in Stockholm today publicly burned a Qur'an to protest Sweden's effort to join NATO. The protestor's goal was to reinforce Turkish opposition. That goal was immediately achieved when Turkey responded by angrily cancelling the visit of the Swedish defense minister to Ankara.
Desecrating a scripture or accusing opponents of desecrating a scripture is a common tactic for gaining political or personal advantage by inflaming public opinion. It is effective because the iconic dimension of a scripture is most easily ritualized by its believers, but can also be ritualized malevolently by anyone who gains access to a copy. My 14-year-old survey of such incidents around the world unfortunately remains relevant for understanding news like this today. See "Desecrating Scripture" at https://surface.syr.edu/.
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