Pope Francis says the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, has made him angry and disgusted. He said that he condemned and rejected permitting the act as a form of freedom of speech.
"Any book considered holy should be respected, to respect those who believe in it," the pope said in an interview in the United Arab Emirates newspaper Al Ittihad, published on Monday. "I feel angry and disgusted at these actions.
"Freedom of speech should never be used as a means to despise others and allowing that is rejected and condemned."
A man tore up and burned a Koran in Sweden's capital Stockholm last week, resulting in strong condemnation from several states, including Turkey whose backing Sweden needs to gain entry to the NATO military alliance.
While Swedish police have rejected several recent applications for anti-Koran demonstrations, courts have over-ruled those decisions, saying they infringed freedom of speech.
On Sunday, an Islamic grouping of 57 states said collective measures are needed to prevent acts of desecration to the Koran and that international law should be used to stop religious hatred.