Muslim leaders in Lebanon on Sunday unanimously condemned the burning of a copy of the Quran on Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden's capital, by Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist Rasmus Paludan.
Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Shiite party, as well as Lebanon's grand mufti, Abdel-Latif Derian, the highest Sunni authority in the country, called on the Swedish and international authorities to punish Paludan's act.
Paludan burned the religious text in the vicinity of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, as part of a demonstration authorized by the Swedish police.
In a statement on Sunday, Hezbollah "condemn[ed] this infamous criminal act against the Islamic faith and the sacred symbols of Islam, and consider[ed] this event to be part of a series of shameful attacks on the Prophet [Muhammad]," Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported.
The party added that this event constitutes "a serious abuse of the Muslim community around the world, which cannot be silenced."
"We hold the Swedish government fully responsible for this hideous act and call on it to immediately punish those responsible and prevent the repetition of such crimes," Hezbollah added.
For his part, the Jaafarite mufti, Ahmad Kabalan, who is close to Hezbollah, said that Islamic and Arab countries "should not only condemn but also take strong punitive measures against Sweden."
"What they call freedom is nothing more than a curtain of civilized crimes and pyres against everything related to Islam, in this Western scourge, this West from which Hitler came," the mufti added, according to statements relayed by several local media outlets.
'Present draft international laws'
In the same vein, Derian denounced "the tolerance of the Swedish authorities towards the extremist leader Rasmus Paludan."
Derian denounced the "heinous act based on hatred and provocation against all Muslims in the world," calling for "judging anyone who undermines Islam and the Quran and punishing him accordingly," the NNA reported.
In a statement issued on Sunday, he called on international bodies and organizations to "present draft international laws preventing the infringement of God's laws … to prevent this kind of racist behavior that adds hatred between people and nations."
In the afternoon, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati denounced in a short statement published on Twitter "an insolent assault on monotheistic religion and what Islam stands for."
"Such hateful behavior will not achieve its goal of damaging the Islamic faith and its essence," he said.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Sunday deplored a "deeply disrespectful act" in the wake of the Quran burning in Stockholm, expressing "sympathy" for believers after several protests in the Muslim world.
Last week, there was outcry in France after cartoons published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo depicting the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hezbollah denounced these drawings and urged "the French government to take strong measures to punish" the newspaper's cartoonists.