Iraqi protestors set Swedish embassy on fire over Quran desecration

BAGHDAD: Hundreds of protesters stormed the Swedish embassy in central Baghdad in the early hours of Thursday morning, climbing its walls and setting it on fire in protest against the expected second burning of the Holy Quran in Sweden.

A series of videos posted to the Telegram group ‘One Baghdad’ showed people gathering outside the embassy around 1am local time and shouting slogans before storming the complex an hour later.

“Yes, yes to the Quran,” protesters chanted.

Videos later showed protesters on the roof with smoke rising from a building in the embassy complex.

The Swedish foreign ministry press office later said in a statement that all Baghdad embassy staff were safe, highlighting the need for Iraqi authorities to protect diplomatic missions.

The protest was sparked after Swedish news agency TT reported on Wednesday that Swedish police had granted an application for a public meeting outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm on Thursday.

The application says the applicant seeks to burn the Quran and the Iraqi flag, TT reported.

The demonstration was called by supporters of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada Sadr to protest the second planned Quran burning in Sweden, according to posts in a Telegram group linked to the influential cleric and other pro-Sadr media.

Sadr, one of Iraq’s most powerful figures, commands hundreds of thousands of followers whom he has at times called to the streets, including last summer when they occupied Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone and engaged in deadly clashes.

Iraq’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, condemned the incident and said in a statement the Iraqi government had instructed security forces to carry out a swift investigation, identify perpetrators and hold them to account.

Late last month, Sadr had also called for protests against Sweden and the expulsion of the Swedish ambassador after an Iraqi man desecrated the Quran outside Stockholm’s central mosque.

Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi refugee who fled to Sweden several years ago, was given permission by Stockholm police to tear up and burn pages of the Islamic holy book on June 28.

He was later charged with agitation against an ethnic group following international outcry.



You May Also Like