The Koran again desecrated, diplomatic crisis between Iraq and Sweden

The Koran again desecrated, diplomatic crisis between Iraq and Sweden

Iraq on Thursday (July 20th) ordered the expulsion of the Swedish ambassador to Baghdad in response to the desecration of a copy of the Koran in Stockholm, an initiative which also led to an assault on the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, which was set on fire by demonstrators.

Even as the mini-rally took place in the Swedish capital where the holy book of Islam was trampled on, but not burned as planned, the Iraqi government ordered the expulsion of the Scandinavian country’s ambassador to Baghdad, and recalled its own representative.

The Iraqi authorities have also announced that they are suspending the license of Swedish telecom equipment giant Ericsson in the country.

Thursday evening, some 200 demonstrators denounced in Tahrir Square, in the center of Baghdad, the desecration of the Koran. “Yes, yes, to the Koran”, they chanted, brandishing in particular the holy book of Islam as well as Iraqi flags. Some protesters burned Swedish flags, according to a photographer. “It is an aggression against two billion Muslims”Amjad al-Maliki, a 46-year-old civil servant, got carried away.

After Swedish police announced on Wednesday that they would allow the mini-rally where a copy of the Koran was to be burned, supporters of Shiite religious leader Moqtada Sadr stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad at dawn and set it on fire before being dispersed by police with water cannons.

Diplomatic staff is ” safe “said the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which then summoned the Iraqi charge d’affaires to Stockholm.


The United States has “strongly condemned” the attack on the embassy, ​​while judging “unacceptable that the Iraqi security forces did not act to prevent the demonstrators” to enter it.

In Baghdad, some protesters were chased with electric batons while others responded with rocks, according to a photographer. “We are mobilized today to denounce the fact of burning the Koran, which is only love and faith”said one of them, Hassan Ahmed. “We demand that the Swedish government and the Iraqi government stop this type of initiative. »

After several hours of tension between demonstrators and riot police in front of the Swedish embassy building, where the extent of the damage is not yet known, calm has been restored. About 20 people were arrested, according to a security source. The authorities decided to “bring to justice the perpetrators of the fire who have been arrested”according to the services of the Iraqi Prime Minister.

Quran trampled

A few hours after the violence in Baghdad, the organizer of the rally in Stockholm, Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi refugee in Sweden, desecrated a copy of the Koran but did not go through with his project.

In front of an audience kept at a distance by barriers and from which rose cries and others ” God is great ! » (“God is the greatest!”), he repeatedly stomped on and shattered a copy of the book, without setting it on fire as he had announced.

Swedish police had allowed the rally in the name of freedom of assembly, but stressed that this did not amount to condoning what would happen there. “The Constitution says that many conditions must be met to prohibit a person from being authorized to organize a gathering”argued Thursday Ola Österling of the Stockholm police.

At the end of June, Salwan Momika had already burned a few pages of a copy of the Koran in front of Stockholm’s largest mosque on the first day of Eid al-Adha, a holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world.

This first incident prompted Moqtada Sadr’s supporters to storm the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, but they quickly got out.

Salwan Momika’s gesture in Stockholm then provoked a volley of international condemnations. This type of action has already taken place in Sweden or in other European countries, sometimes at the initiative of far-right movements. In January, it was the Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist Rasmus Paludan who complied with the exercise near the Turkish embassy.

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