News Update


Protesters assault Sweden’s embassy in Baghdad after the Quran was burned.

On Wednesday, Salwan Momika, an Iraqi resident in Sweden, set fire to a copy of Islam’s holy book outside Stockholm’s prominent mosque.

Many Muslim-majority countries criticized the Quran burning.

On Thursday, a throng gathered outside the US embassy in Baghdad after a powerful cleric called for a “angry” demonstration.

Social media videos appeared to show scores of demonstrators walking inside the courtyard.

According to an AFP news agency photographer on the site, the throng entered the building momentarily and remained inside for around 15 minutes before departing when local security officers arrived.

Muslims regard the Quran as God’s sacred word and consider any intentional damage or disrespect to it to be profoundly insulting.

On Wednesday, Muslims around the world observed the first day of Eid al-Adha, one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar.

In compliance with free-speech rights, Swedish police granted Mr Momika a permit for the protest. However, authorities later stated that the incident was being probed for incitement of hatred.

The event has also prompted outrage in other Muslim-majority countries, notably Turkey, a Nato member with a say over whether Sweden joins.

Turkey, which was similarly outraged by a Quran-burning protest earlier this year, said it was “unacceptable” to let such “anti-Islamic actions” to occur “under the guise of freedom of expression.”

According to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “we will eventually teach the arrogant Westerners that insulting Muslims is not freedom of thought.”

Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt were among the Middle Eastern countries who vehemently condemned the burning.

Moroccan and Jordanian ambassadors have been summoned to Stockholm, and Morocco has summoned Sweden’s charge d’affaires in Rabat.

The incident was described by Iraq as “a reflection of a hateful aggressive spirit that has nothing to do with freedom of expression.”


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