Copenhagen : Denmark to ''criminalise desecration'' of religious symbols : Denmark on Friday said it plans to ban the desecration of the Holy Quran.

Denmark stepped up security earlier following the backlash, as did neighbouring Sweden which has also seen a surge in such incidents in recent months.

The Danish government intends to '' criminalise the improper treatment of objects of significant religious importance to a religious community,'' Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard told reporters.

He said the proposed legislation was aimed especially at burnings and desecrations in public places.

HummeIgaard said the desecration of the Holy Quran were a '' fundamentally contemptuous and unsympathetic act that '' harm Denmark and its interests''.

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

Hummelgaard said the national security was the main ''motivation'' for the ban.

Nearly a thousand protesters attempted to march to the Danish embassy in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in late July following a call by firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr.

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

The proposed Danish legislation would also apply to desecration of the Bible, the Torah or, for example, a crucifix. [AFP]


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