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The New Arab

WATCH: 'Muslim hero' delivers flying kick to Norway man burning Quran

Pakistani supporters of the 'hero' demonstrate against the Quran burning [AFP]

Date of publication: 25 November, 2019

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The man has receive global praise for confronting the man burning a copy of the Quran at an anti-Islam rally in Norway.
Muslims around the world are praising one man as a "hero" after he confronted a man burnign a copy of the Muslim holy book in Norway.

The incident occurred during a rally organised by far-right organisation Stop Islamisation of Norway (SIAN) in the southern city of Kristiansand last weekend.

During the anti-Islam rally, far-right activists described Islam as "fascist" and labelled Prophet Mohammed a "paedophile", as well as throwing two copies of the Quran into a rubbish bin, Resett reported.

But the rage of Muslims who gathered in Kristiansand for a counter-protest bubbled over when SIAN leader Lars Thorsen set alight a copy of the Muslim holy book in front of the crowd.

Some counter-protesters managed to break a police cordon guarding the SIAN demonstration - with one making his way towards Thorsen and delivering a flying kick before being subdued and detained by the police.

The man, identified as Ilyas on social media, has since been widely praised by Muslims across the world. Pakistani media outlet Dawn later identified the man as Qusay Rashed, a Palestinian national living in Norway.

"Ladies and Gentleman presenting you 'The defender of Quran'," wrote one Twitter user.

"Salute you brother," he added, using the hashtag #RealHeroOfTheMuslimUmmah (community).

Another Twitter user wrote: "The man who jumped of the fence and saved the holy quran from burning in the anti-islam protest in Norway [has] won millions of hearts."

The incident particularly drew attention in Pakistan, where the Foreign Ministry summoned the Norwegian ambassador due to popular outcry.

"Pakistan's condemnation of this action was reiterated. It was underscored that such actions hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion Muslims around the world, including those in Pakistan," the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.  "Furthermore, such actions could not be justified in the name of freedom of expression."

Pakistan's ambassador to Oslo was also "instructed to convey Pakistan’s protest and deep concern to the Norwegian authorities", the statement said.

Turkey also condemned the "disrespect of our holy book".

"We expect that such actions to be prevented and those who are responsible to be brought to justice as soon as possible," the foreign ministry said in a statement last week.

Norwegians on social media have been quick to distance themselves from SIAN.

"Kristiansand is a city for everyone, and we work systematically to create diversity. Such acts are provocative and regrettable," Kristiansand Mayor Harald Furre told Norway's national broadcaster NRK in an interview.

Both Thorsen and Ilyas were reportedly detained by Norwegian authorities following the brawl.  Four other Muslim protesters, all Palestinian or Syrian nationals, were taken into custody.

The far-right organiser was earlier this year slapped iwth a 30 day suspended jail sentence and fined 20,000 kroner ($2,180) after he was found distributing SIAN leaflets in the Norwegian capital Oslo describing Muslims as "notorious sexual predators", Dawn reported.

Kristiansand's local Muslim Union has said it wants to take Thorsen to court over the incident.

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