Creating new perspectives since 2009

Quran, Iraq flag desecrated in front of Iraq Embassy in Sweden

July 20, 2023 at 3:20 pm

A woman holds a Holy Quran during a demonstration against the burning of Holy Quran by an extremist in Stockholm, in front of the Embassy of Sweden in Tehran, Iran on July 03, 2023. (Photo by Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Sweden, on Thursday, saw yet another act of deliberate desecration of the Muslim holy book, the Quran. Despite protests of the official permission for previous acts of desecration, this provocation also took place under heavy police protection, Anadolu Agency reports.

Standing in front of the Iraqi Embassy in the capital Stockholm, Salwan Momika, an Iraqi-born man who now lives in Sweden, threw both the Quran and the Iraqi flag on the ground and stepped on them, and then wiped his feet on them.

He took the action after Iraqi protesters, on Thursday, stormed Sweden’s Embassy in Baghdad in protest of the burning of a copy of the Quran last month – a burning also committed by Momika himself.

The burning took place on 28 June, the first day of Eid Al-Adha, a major Muslim holiday, and drew widespread denunciation from across the Muslim world.

READ: Iraq: Hundreds storm Swedish embassy and set it on fire 

Thursday’s incident happened after Iraq warned Sweden it could break diplomatic ties if such Quran desecrations happen again.

Embassy storming condemned

The Swedish Foreign Ministry condemned the attack on its embassy in Baghdad, calling it a “serious violation” of the Vienna Convention.

Many states, including the US, Russia, Turkiye, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan as well as other Islamic countries, decried the attack.

Sweden also launched an investigation into the incident.

In February, Momika sought permission to burn the Quran in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm, while another person sought permission to burn the Quran in front of Turkiye’s Stockholm Embassy.

The police denied them permission for security reasons, but the two took the police decision to court.

The Swedish Administrative Court overturned the police’s decision on 4 April, arguing that “security risk concerns” were not enough to limit the right to demonstrate.

When the case went to the country’s Supreme Court on 12 June, it upheld the permission for the burning.

Other burning incidents in Sweden

During the 2022 Easter holidays, far-right Danish-Swedish politician, Rasmus Paludan, continued his provocations of Quran burnings from other Scandinavian cities in Stockholm.

Demonstrators sought to stop him and also attacked the police, injuring over 100 police officers, while 14 demonstrators were injured, and 20 police vehicles were destroyed.

On 21 January, Paludan burned a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm. No one was allowed to come near Paludan during the action, which took place under heavy police protection.

READ: Turkiye issues arrest warrant for far-right Danish politician over Quran burning