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Iraq: Angry protesters attempt to storm Baghdad's Green Zone after burning of Quran, Iraqi flag in Denmark

An ultranationalist group reportedly burned a copy of the Quran and an Iraqi flag outside the Iraq embassy in Copenhagen and livestreamed the incident.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee Baghdad Published on: July 22, 2023 15:34 IST
Hundreds of people protest in Iraq over the burning of the
Image Source : AP Hundreds of people protest in Iraq over the burning of the Quran and an Iraqi flag in Denmark

Quran row: In an escalation of tensions surrounding the desecration of Quran, hundreds of protesters tried to storm the heavily fortified Green Zone in Iraq's capital Baghdad on Saturday, after yet another instance of burning of the Quran and that of an Iraqi flag in front of the country's embassy in Denmark's Copenhagen.

The protesters stormed the Green Zone and were possibly attempting to reach the Danish embassy after an ultranationalist group reportedly burned a copy of the Quran and an Iraqi flag outside the Iraqi embassy in Copenhagen. The burning of the Quran was also reportedly livestreamed by the ultranationalist group in Denmark. 

They were pushed back by Iraqi security forces, who blocked the Jumhuriya bridge near the Green Zone, AP reported. Notably, the Green Zone houses all the foreign embassies in Iran, thus making it a more probable attack for the reported desecration. 

The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday strongly condemned "the incident of abuse against the Holy Quran and the flag of the Republic of Iraq in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Denmark”. It also requested the international community to stand against "these atrocities that violate social peace and coexistence around the world."

Earlier, angry protesters stormed into the Swedish embassy in Baghdad on Friday over the second desecration of the Quran in Sweden, breaking into the compound and lighting a small fire. The protest was followed by Iraq severing diplomatic ties with Sweden and expelling the Swedish ambassador in Baghdad.

Meanwhile, thousands of people held protests over repeated instances in Muslim-majority countries including Iran, Iraq and Lebanon over desecration of the Holy Quran, the most sacred Islamic religious book.

Thursday's protest in Baghdad occurred after the second incident of desecration of the Holy Quran involving Salwan Momika, an Iraqi Christian. Momika on Thursday stepped on and kicked a copy of the Quran outside the Iraqi Embassy, but stopped short of burning it.

Last month, Momika was seen tearing up and burning a copy of the Quran near a mosque in Stockholm around the festival of Eid-ul-Adha, which initiated the widespread outrage and debate among Muslim nations over religious hatred and limits to freedom of expression.

Swedish ambassadors in Saudi Arabia and Iran were summoned to lodge a formal protest against the Quran-burning. The Taliban government in Afghanistan suspended all the activities of Swedish organisations in the country. However, the resolution was passed over divided opinions from the United States and the United Kingdom over fears of curtailing freedom of expression.

Earlier this month, the United Nations Human Rights Council had approved a resolution that called for countries to prevent religious hatred. 

ALSO READ | Iraq has expelled Swedish ambassador as Quran row escalates. What is it? | EXPLAINED

ALSO READ | Pakistan: PM Shehbaz Sharif vows to launch campaign against desecration of Quran in Sweden

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