Jaipur Dialogues Quran Desecration in Sweden Fuels International Protests and Diplomatic Tensions


Aditi Joshi

In the aftermath of a highly controversial incident, ex-Muslim Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika, currently residing in Sweden, ignited several pages of the Quran in front of a mosque in Stockholm. This act of provocation set off a chain of events, with hundreds of followers of Moqtada Sadr, a prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric, storming the Swedish embassy in Baghdad. The violent outburst occurred on June 29, a day after the Quran burning in Sweden took place.

Siege Of Embassy

The followers of Moqtada Sadr, known for their passionate loyalty, gathered outside the embassy with pamphlets bearing the phrase “Our constitution is the Quran,” along with slogans spray-painted on the embassy compound’s gate, such as “Yes, yes to the Quran.” The protesters, spurred by Sadr’s call to expel the Swedish ambassador, expressed their fury over the Quran’s desecration in Stockholm.

Iraqi demonstrators storming the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, in protest against the burning of a the Holy Quran in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. pic.twitter.com/ZLukEtpJJv

— Clash Report (@clashreport) June 29, 2023

In response to the escalating tensions, tight security measures were implemented, leading the gathering of Muslims to eventually disperse after approximately 15 minutes. The Swedish embassy remained on high alert, safeguarding its diplomatic personnel in Iraq, as affirmed by the Swedish foreign ministry.

Quran Desecration

The Quran burning incident in Sweden occurred on June 28, as Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old had sought refuge in Sweden after fleeing Iraq. He publicly lit a few pages of the book outside Stockholm’s largest mosque. Despite facing opposition, Momika exercised his right to freedom of expression.

A court overturned a police order prohibiting such protests. The foreign ministry of Iraq expressed concerns that such actions would only serve to further enflame sentiments among Muslims worldwide.
Muslims in Pakistan and other Islamic countries should worry more about how their states oppress religious minorities like Hindus, Christians, Ahmedi Muslims etc instead of being concerned about this Swedish man burning the Quran which harmed no one. #quranburning pic.twitter.com/Ypqw0rBU2w

— Taha Siddiqui (@TahaSSiddiqui) June 30, 2023

Interestingly, Momika, undeterred by the backlash, boldly announced his intention to repeat the protest in the face of opposition. He declared, “Within 10 days, I will burn the Iraqi flag and the Quran in front of Iraq’s embassy in Stockholm“. He signalled his unwavering commitment to his cause.

The NATO Chief, Stoltenberg, has called the burning “freedom of expression”.

#BREAKING: NATO chief Stoltenberg calls the burning of the Quran in Sweden "freedom of expression" and "not illegal." pic.twitter.com/GhopKA9Sen

— Censored Men (@CensoredMen) June 30, 2023

The Quran burning incident in Sweden occurred during a sensitive time. It coincides with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha and the conclusion of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, known as Hajj, in Saudi Arabia. As news of the incident spread throughout the Middle East and beyond, it ignited a wave of outrage. Much of the Islamic world erupted with anger towards Sweden. That should simplify what the Islamists will do to defend their religion!

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