Norway’s ambassador to Pakistan was called in on the carpet during the weekend, amidst more international protests over a recent demonstration by a small anti-Islamic organization in Kristiansand.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry is among the latest to strongly object to the burning of a Koran at the demonstration. The ministry declared that the fire, which police quickly stomped out before arresting several of the demonstrators behind it, hurt the feelings of 1.3 billion Muslins around the world.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that calls have also gone out for a boycott of Norwegian companies after the demonstration, which was incited by the small group known as SIAN. Among companies targeted is the Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor.
“One of Telenor’s most important values is to be respectful,” responded Telenor’s communications chief Hanne Knudsen. “While that means respecting the right to freedom of expression it also means respecting other people’s religions and cultures.”
The SIAN demonstration has been widely bashed within Norway as well, and has been criticized in Turkey and Russia. “This is a move by SIAN to provoke Muslims and get them to look dangerous and violent,” Tore Bjørgo, a professor at the University of Oslo who specializes in extremism, told NRK. “Some people of course fall for that.”
Norway’s police intelligence agency PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) was reportedly following the situation closely.