Countries condemn the desecration of the Quran in Sweden

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By Webdesk

Officials from a number of countries, including many in the Middle East, have condemned a man’s desecration of the Quran in the Swedish capital during a police-authorized protest.

Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi who fled to Sweden several years ago, tore up and set fire to pages of the Islamic holy book on Thursday as Muslims celebrated the Eid al-Adha holiday.

The act outside Stockholm’s Central Mosque sparked international condemnation. Here are some of the responses:


Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan called the Quran violation “despicable”.

“It is unacceptable to allow these anti-Muslim actions under the pretext of freedom of expression,” said Fidan wrote on Twitter. “To close one’s eyes to such heinous acts is to be an accomplice.”

Turkey’s conviction weighs heavily. The country is blocking Sweden’s bid for NATO membership over what it sees as Stockholm’s failure to crack down on Kurdish groups it considers “terrorists”.

In January, a similar incident involving Rasmus Paludan, a far-right politician who burned a Quran in Stockholm near the Turkish embassy, ​​exacerbated tensions between the two countries.

Stockholm protest
The act in Stockholm went largely without incident and many in the crowd said they refused to be thwarted [Nils Adler/Al Jazeera]

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had told Swedish leaders at the time: “If you do not show respect for the religious beliefs of the Republic of Turkey or Muslims, you will not receive any support for NATO from us.”


Morocco went beyond a statement of condemnation and recalled its ambassador to Sweden indefinitely.

The kingdom’s foreign ministry also appealed to the Swedish chargé d’affaires in Rabat, expressing its “strong condemnation of this attack and its rejection of this unacceptable act,” according to state media.

United States

The US State Department expressed its opposition to the burning of the Quran and also urged Turkey to approve Sweden’s NATO bid.

“Burning religious texts is disrespectful and offensive, and what is legal is certainly not necessarily appropriate,” spokesman Vedant Patel said.

“In broad terms, we continue to encourage Hungary and Turkey to ratify Sweden’s accession protocol without delay.”


A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry called the incident “provocative, ill-considered and unacceptable”.

“The government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran will not tolerate such an insult and strongly condemn it,” said Nasser Kanani.

“The Swedish government is expected to give serious consideration to the principle of responsibility and accountability in this regard and prevent repetition of insulting the holy saints,” he added.

Iran’s foreign ministry has summoned Sweden’s chargé d’affaires in Tehran, state media reported on Thursday.

“While Muslims are performing Hajj… insulting their holiness only serves to spread hatred and violence and exploit the principle of freedom of expression,” Iranian state media said, citing a statement from the ministry.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi foreign ministry also condemned the burning.

“These hateful and repeated acts cannot be accepted with any justification,” it said.


Egypt said Momika’s act was “shameful” especially since it took place on Eid al-Adha.

The State Department also expressed concern over “repeated incidents” of Quran burning in Europe.

“Egypt expresses its deep concern at the repeated incidents of the burning of the Holy Quran and the recent escalation of Islamophobia and crimes of blasphemy in some European countries, and reaffirms its total rejection of all reprehensible practices that undermine the constants and religious beliefs of Muslims ‘ said a statement.


Iraq called the act “racist” and “irresponsible”, adding that it condemns “the repeated acts of burning copies of the Holy Quran by individuals of extremist and deranged minds”.

“They are not only racist, but also promote violence and hatred,” the Iraqi government said in a statement.

“These irresponsible actions, which are in direct contradiction to the values ​​of respect for diversity and the beliefs of others, are unequivocally condemned,” the government added.

Iraq’s influential Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr urged people to protest outside the Swedish embassy in Baghdad to demand the removal of the ambassador, calling Sweden “hostile to Islam”.


Jordan also condemned the act, calling it “racist” and a “sedition”.

“The ministry confirmed that the burning of the Holy Quran is an act of dangerous hatred, and an expression of Islamophobia that incites violence and insults to religions, and that it cannot be considered a form of freedom of expression at all.” the kingdom said in a statement.

Jordan said that rejecting “extremism” is a “collective responsibility that everyone must abide by.”


Kuwait’s foreign ministry said the burning was a “dangerous, provocative move that fueled the feelings of Muslims around the world.”

It called on the international community and governments to “take responsibility for swift action to renounce feelings of hatred, extremism and religious intolerance”.


The Yemeni government dismissed the incident as one that “deliberately arouses the feelings of Muslims around the world on holy Islamic occasions by a hateful extremist movement,” according to a statement from the foreign ministry.

It also called for an end to the “repeated abuses” that stem from a “culture of hate”.


The Syrian government condemned the “disgraceful act” on one of the holiest days for Muslims “by an extremist with the permission and consent of the Swedish government”.


The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called the desecration a “flagrant attack on human rights, values ​​of tolerance, acceptance of others, democracy and peaceful coexistence among adherents of all religions.”

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