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24 Jul, 2023 14:33

Quran burnt outside Iraqi embassy in Denmark

The incident comes amid a row between Stockholm and Baghdad that saw the Swedish ambassador expelled from Iraq
Quran burnt outside Iraqi embassy in Denmark

Two protesters set the Islamic holy book, the Quran, alight in front of the Iraqi embassy in Copenhagen on Monday. The incident came as the Middle Eastern nation reacted strongly to similar stunts in Sweden.

The demonstrators belonged to a group calling itself Danish Patriots. The organization, which appears to have hundreds of followers in a private Facebook group, staged a similar action last week, which it live-streamed on social media.

The organizers of Monday’s stunt stomped on the Quran before burning it in a tinfoil tray next to an Iraqi flag lying on the ground, according to Reuters. Iraqi officials have not commented on the incident so far.

The action came just two days after Baghdad expelled the Swedish ambassador to Iraq and recalled its own envoy over Stockholm’s repeated decisions to allow similar stunts on Swedish soil. The diplomatic row between the two nations broke out last month when Swedish police allowed an Iraqi national to hold a protest during which he set fire to the Islamic holy book in Stockholm.

Another such protest took place outside of the Iraqi embassy in the Swedish capital last Thursday. Although the demonstrators stopped short of burning the Quran, they were seen stepping on it.

On the same day, Iraqis angered over the stunt stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad and set it on fire. No members of the diplomatic staff were harmed in the incident, but Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom criticized the Iraqi government for failing to protect the facility.

Stockholm has defended its policy of allowing the protests by citing the rights to free speech and freedom of assembly. The governments of many Muslim nations have lodged formal protests over previous Quran-burning actions in Sweden, including Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, and Türkiye. On Sunday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) suspended Sweden’s special envoy to the intergovernmental body over the issue.

The 57-member organization accused Stockholm of granting “licenses that enabled the repeated abuse of the sanctity of the Holy Quran and Islamic symbols,” AP reported. The OIC’s executive committee also previously asked its secretary-general to consider suspending an envoy from “any country in which copies of the Holy Quran or other Islamic values and symbols are desecrated with the consent of the authorities concerned.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has voiced his dissatisfaction with Quran-burning stunts in Sweden. Back in January after similar incidents, he said that Ankara would not allow Sweden into NATO as long as it continues to allow the desecration of the Islamic holy text.

In July, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that Türkiye had agreed to support Sweden’s application following a months-long delay. Later, however, Erdogan’s aide Omer Celik clarified that his nation had opened the door for Sweden’s accession process but had not fully approved it.