(CTN News) – The Swedish embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, was stormed by dozens of individuals in response to a recent incident in Sweden where a Quran was burned during a protest.
The act, carried out by an Iraqi resident in Sweden named Salwan Momika, took place outside Stockholm’s central mosque and sparked condemnation from numerous Muslim-majority countries.
A crowd gathered outside the embassy in Baghdad.
In Baghdad, a crowd gathered outside the embassy following a call from a prominent cleric to stage an “angry” protest. Videos circulated on social media showing protesters entering the embassy’s courtyard.
Although they briefly entered the building and remained there for approximately 15 minutes, they eventually left after local security forces were deployed.
Muslims hold the Quran as the sacred word of God and perceive any deliberate harm or display of disrespect towards it as deeply offensive.
The timing of the Quran burning, the first day of Eid al-Adha
The timing of the Quran burning, coinciding with the first day of Eid al-Adha, a significant festival in the Muslim calendar, further heightened sentiments of outrage.
The Swedish police had initially granted Mr. Momika a permit for the protest, citing freedom of speech laws. However, they later stated that the incident was being investigated for incitement of hatred.
The Quran burning incident has triggered anger in various Muslim-majority nations, including Turkey.
As a NATO member, Turkey holds influence over Sweden’s potential membership and strongly disapproves of allowing such “anti-Islamic actions” to occur under the guise of freedom of expression.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated, “We will eventually teach the arrogant Westerners that insulting Muslims is not freedom of thought.”
Other Middle Eastern countries, such as Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, also strongly criticized the burning, with Morocco and Jordan recalling their ambassadors to Stockholm.
Iraq condemned the incident as a reflection of a hateful and aggressive spirit that disregards freedom of expression. Iran echoed Iraq’s sentiment, denouncing the act as provocative and unacceptable.
Egypt described it as a shameful act, particularly during the observance of Eid al-Adha.
Saudi Arabia currently hosting the annual Hajj pilgrimage
Saudi Arabia, currently hosting millions of pilgrims for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, declared that such hateful and recurrent acts could not be justified under any circumstances.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson acknowledged that the Quran burning was legally permitted but deemed inappropriate. Recent plans to burn copies of the Quran in Sweden have sparked riots, with police initially rejecting protest applications until courts ruled to allow them on the grounds of freedom of expression.
In summary, the storming of the Swedish embassy in Baghdad following the Quran burning incident illustrates the deep offense and outrage felt by Muslims worldwide.
The incident has led to diplomatic tensions between Sweden and several Muslim-majority nations, raising important questions about the balance between freedom of expression and respect for religious sensitivities.
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