Hundreds of Iraqi protesters stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, setting part of the building on fire in protest against another planned desecration of the Holy Quran in Sweden.
The angry protesters, reportedly supporters of prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, forcefully entered the embassy on Thursday, holding up Quran copies and chanting pro-Sadr slogans.
“We are mobilized today to denounce the burning of the Quran, which is all about love and faith,” a protester told AFP. “We demand that the Swedish government and the Iraqi government stop this type of initiative.”
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry condemned the torching of the Swedish embassy building in a statement, instructing security forces to swiftly investigate, identify the perpetrators, and hold them accountable.
Sweden’s Foreign Ministry responded to the incident, assuring that its embassy staff in Baghdad are “safe.” The ministry emphasized that Iraqi authorities are responsible for protecting diplomatic missions and staff, stating that attacks on embassies and diplomats “constitute a serious violation of the Vienna Convention.”
The situation arises as Swedish authorities have approved an assembly scheduled later in the day outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm. Organizers plan to burn a copy of the Muslim holy book as well as the Iraqi flag during the demonstration, which is said to be participated by two people. According to Swedish media, one of them is the same person who previously set a Quran on fire outside a Stockholm mosque in June.
On June 28, Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi immigrant, stomped on the Quran and set several pages on fire in front of Stockholm’s largest mosque. The act, which took place during the Muslim Eid al-Adha and the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, sparked anger among Muslims worldwide. The incident was carried out under the authorization and protection of the Swedish police.