A group of protesters set fire to the Swedish embassy in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, at dawn today, Thursday. The event, in which no casualties were recorded, took place during the recent protest To burn the Koran in the Scandinavian country at the end of June and permission for another similar action scheduled for Thursday in Stockholm where finally the Holy Book of Muslims is not burned, but trampled and beaten. The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack and stated that its staff were safe. The Iraqi government, for its part, expelled the Swedish ambassador from the country in retaliation for the new work organized in the Scandinavian country.
The attack on the Swedish embassy was carried out by dozens of demonstrators, presumably in favor of The influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. They reached the embassy facilities, on the call the green Zone of the Iraqi capital, known for housing government institutions and the headquarters of foreign diplomatic missions.
Sweden strongly condemned the attack on its diplomatic headquarters in Baghdad. The attacks on the Swedish Embassy in Iraq are completely unacceptable. This is the second time this has happened in a short time. Iraq bears the responsibility to protect the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad. The government will summon the chief Iraqi diplomat to Sweden today, “according to a statement by the Swedish Foreign Minister, Tobias Billström. The Iraqi government also condemned this attack in the strongest terms, which it considers another one of the “attacks on diplomatic headquarters and threats to its security.” It directed the executive authority to conduct an “urgent investigation and take action.” The necessary security measures to identify the perpetrators of this act and hold them accountable according to the law.
But he announced in the early afternoon that he had expelled the Swedish ambassador to Baghdad, Jessica Svardström, from the country and ordered the return of Sweden’s charge d’affaires to Iraqi territory. Iraq’s Kurdish president, Al-Balatif Rashid, accused Al-Suwaid of “complicating the problem” of its relations with Baghdad by allowing the book to be burned again. “We strongly condemn the irresponsible behavior of trying to repeat the attack on the Qur’an and the flag of the Iraqi state,” the country’s presidency said in a statement. The President supports, under the circumstances, the right to peaceful expression to protest these behaviors [de Suecia]but with respect for and responsibility of Iraq with regard to diplomatic traditions and international norms and laws,” the official note stated.
According to information published on social media, the demonstrators threw torches inside the Swedish Legation in response to the burning of Muslim writers in Stockholm by extremist elements. “We didn’t wait for the morning. We entered at dawn and set fire to the Swedish embassy,” said a young demonstrator in Baghdad who chanted the Shi’ite leader’s name. In the vicinity of the diplomatic building, some demonstrators displayed copies of the Koran and pictures of the chest. Another protester, Hassan Ahmed, told the same agency, “We have mobilized to denounce the burning of the Qur’an, which is nothing more than love and faith.” “We call on the Swedish and Iraqi governments to stop this kind of initiative,” he added.
Several Iraqi civil defense trucks went to the embassy to extinguish the fire, which caused thick smoke. A riot police unit was also deployed, which resorted to using water cannons to contain the groups of people who were surrounding the building.
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Swedish authorities granted new permission for a protest demonstration Thursday in front of the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm. Its organizer, Silwan Momica, plans to burn another Koran and an Iraqi flag. Momica is an Iraqi refugee living in the Scandinavian country who was also responsible for another Bible burning on June 28, On the same day that Eid al-Adha was celebratedIt is one of the most important Islamic religious ceremonies. In the new measure authorized today that sparked protests in Baghdad, attendees trampled on the Muslim holy book, although according to Reuters there were no clear indications that they proceeded to burn it.
The June event sparked a wave of international criticism and anger in the Muslim community. For countries that profess this religion in the majority, the responsibility for the incident lies with Sweden because it allowed the protest under the protection of freedom of speech. According to the local newspaper Iraq newsThe Iraqi Foreign Minister, Fuad Hussein, stressed to his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Bjöllstrom, “the need to avoid repeating acts offensive to Islam and the Holy Qur’an.” This type of burning of holy books has happened before in Sweden and other European countries, sometimes initiated by far-right movements. In the past, they have caused demonstrations and diplomatic tensions.