Koran Desecration in Europe: Muslim World’s Anger

Iraqi security forces early yesterday dispersed hundreds of supporters of Moqtada Sadr who demonstrated in Baghdad before trying to join the ultra-secure Green Zone, including embassies, a new mobilization to protest against the profanations of the Koran. The nightly protest was sparked by press reports that appear to point to desecration of the Koran in Denmark.

On its Facebook page, the far-right Danske Patrioter movement posted video on Friday of a man burning what appears to be a Koran and stomping on an Iraqi flag. Copenhagen police confirmed to Danish media that a book was burned outside the Iraqi embassy, but were unable to confirm that it was a Quran. In Tahrir Square in the center of the Iraqi capital, hundreds of demonstrators gathered after 1:00 a.m. (22:00 GMT), most often young men chanting “Yes, yes to the Koran” and some brandishing portraits of the influential religious leader Moqtada Sadr.

Security forces had cut two bridges leading to the Green Zone, a secure neighborhood housing government institutions and embassies, but the protesters, around a thousand, tried to force their way through and clashes broke out when they were repelled and finally dispersed before dawn, an official at the Interior Ministry confirmed to the press, speaking on condition of anonymity. According to him, the demonstrators were trying to rally the Danish embassy. On Thursday, Sadr supporters attacked at night and burned down the Swedish embassy. They were reacting to two rallies organized to desecrate the Koran in Stockholm, the first at the end of June, the second on Thursday.

These events caused a diplomatic crisis between Sweden and Iraq, which expelled the Swedish ambassador. The Iraqi authorities have also announced that they are suspending the license of the Swedish telecom giant Ericsson in the country. Early yesterday, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemned in a statement “the desecration of the Holy Quran and the Iraqi flag in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Denmark”.

“These actions provoke reactions and put all parties in delicate situations,” he warned. The ministry reaffirms, however, “its full commitment to the Vienna Convention”, ensuring that “the Iraqi government guarantees the protection and security provided to diplomatic teams”. “We cannot allow what happened with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden to happen again,” he said.

It should also be recalled that Saudi Arabia and Iran have summoned the representatives of Swedish diplomatic missions in their countries, in order to denounce the authorization granted by Stockholm for acts of desecration of the Koran. “A note of protest calling in particular on the Swedish authorities to take all immediate and necessary measures to put an end to these shameful acts”, will be delivered to the Swedish charge d’Affaires, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release Thursday evening.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said he had sent a letter to the UN Secretary General, condemning the desecration of the Quran and asking him to “immediately condemn this act and take the necessary measures as soon as possible, in order to prevent its repetition.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for its part spoke of a “new provocative act”, its secretary general, Hissein Brahim Taha, urging Stockholm to “stop issuing authorizations (for gatherings, editor’s note) to extremist groups and individuals”.

This article is originally published on elwatan-dz.com

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