Swedish embassy in Baghdad: Protesters enter after Stockholm Koran burning



CNN

Demonstrators breached the Swedish embassy in Baghdad on Thursday, a day after a protester burned a copy of the Koran in Sweden.

The demonstrations in the Iraqi capital were ordered by powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who also called for the expulsion of the Swedish ambassador in Baghdad.

Videos circulating on social media showed some protesters climbing a barricade outside the embassy. It’s unclear how far they got into the building before leaving.

Sweden says its employees are safe. “We are well aware of the situation. Our embassy staff are safe and the Foreign Ministry is in constant contact with them,” the Swedish Foreign Ministry’s press office told CNN in an email.

An Iraqi security source confirmed to CNN that the incident was over. The protesters were inside the compound for about 15 minutes, AFP news agency reported.

Protests erupted in Baghdad on Wednesday after a man burned a copy of Islam’s holy book outside a mosque in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Pictures of the event showed him, apart from his translator, at the demonstration, which coincided with the Islamic holiday of Eid-al-Adha, one of the most important in the Islamic calendar.

Al-Sadr requested the authorities to revoke the Iraqi citizenship of Salwan Momika, an organizer of the Quran protest in Stockholm, who moved to Sweden from Iraq five years ago.

“If freedom of speech is guaranteed in Iraq and the world, believers should express their views on the burning of holy books through massive angry protests against the Swedish embassy in Iraq,” Al Sadr said.

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Muslim countries and Islamic organizations condemned the burning of the Koran in Stockholm. Iran called the move “provocative” and Kuwait called it a “dangerous provocation”.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC]Both the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council separately condemned the incident.

On Wednesday, Morocco withdrew its ambassador to Sweden and both Iraq and Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the move. On Thursday, the UAE summoned Sweden’s ambassador in Abu Dhabi to protest the Koran burning incident, the UAE’s state news agency WAM reported.

In early January this year, Iraqi protesters clashed with security forces outside the Swedish embassy in Stockholm over a separate incident in which a Quran was burned.

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