Muslim nations denounce Quran burning in Sweden

Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern countries condemned the burning of the Koran by an Iraqi resident in Sweden on Thursday, warning that such acts “inflame” the sensibilities of Muslims worldwide.

Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Syrian refugee who came to Sweden some years ago, trampled on the Koran before setting several pages on fire in front of Stockholm’s largest mosque on Wednesday.

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Police in Stockholm issued him a permit for the protest in accordance with free-speech rights, but subsequently claimed they had begun an inquiry against the man for “agitation.”

The event occurred as Muslims throughout the world celebrated Eid al-Adha and the annual hajj trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia was coming to an end.

Iraq has criticised the Swedish government’s decision to allow a “extremist” to burn the Koran.

“These events inflame the feelings of Muslims around the world and represent a dangerous provocation for them,” the foreign ministry in Baghdad said.

Iraq’s influential Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr called for a demonstration outside the Swedish embassy in Baghdad to demand the removal of the ambassador, charging that his state is “hostile to Islam”.

Iran joined in the condemnation, calling the Koran burning “provocative, ill-considered and unacceptable”.

“The government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran… do not tolerate such an insult and strongly condemn it,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani.

“The Swedish government is expected to seriously consider the principle of responsibility and accountability in this regard, while preventing the repetition of insulting the holy sanctities,” he added.

Saudi Arabia, which hosted around 1.8 million Muslim pilgrims for the hajj that ended on Wednesday, also denounced the Koran burning.

“These hateful and repeated acts cannot be accepted with any justification,” the Saudi foreign ministry said.

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