The high representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations has condemned the burning of the Muslim holy book by a Swedish-Danish far-right politician as a “vile act”.

Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Danish far-right political party Hard Line, carried out the stunt outside the Turkish embassy in Sweden under the protection of local police on Friday.

“While the High Representative stresses the importance of upholding the freedom of expression as a fundamental human right,

he also emphasises that the act of Quran-burning, amounts to an expression of hatred towards Muslims,” a spokesperson for Miguel Angel Moratinos said in a statement

“It is disrespectful and insulting to the adherents of Islam and should not be conflated with freedom of expression,” the statement added.

Moratinos, who heads a UN agency that describes itself as “devoted to promoting understanding across diverse communities”,

said he was concerned about the rise in “discrimination, intolerance and violence … directed against members of many religious and other communities in various parts of the world”.