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Iraq and Others Condemn Quran-Burning in Denmark

Iraq and some other Muslim-majority countries have strongly condemned the burning of a Quran on Monday by a group called “Danish Patriots” outside the Iraqi embassy in Copenhagen.

The far-right group livestreamed a similar act on Facebook on Friday.

Nearly 1,000 demonstrators in Baghdad tried to reach the Danish embassy after that incident.

Last week, crowds set fire to Sweden’s embassy in Baghdad after the planned burning of a Quran in Stockholm.

In Monday’s incident in Denmark, two anti-Islam protesters stamped on the holy book and set it alight in a tin foil tray next to an Iraqi flag on the ground.

Iraq’s foreign ministry said such acts allowed “the virus of extremism and hate” to pose “a real threat to the peaceful coexistence of societies”.

Muslims consider the Quran to be the word of God and view any intentional damage or show of disrespect towards it as deeply offensive.

The latest desecration of the book in the Danish capital also triggered a rally by thousands of protesters in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, who voiced anger at both Denmark and Sweden for allowing such acts.

Turkey called the incident a “despicable attack” on the Quran, while the Algerian foreign ministry summoned the Danish ambassador and Swedish charge d’affaires to condemn the acts.

Iran also protested on Saturday over the earlier desecrations. Local media in Qatar reported that Souq Al Baladi, the country’s biggest market, had removed Swedish products in protest.

In a tweet, Denmark’s foreign ministry said: “Denmark condemns today’s burning of the Quran carried out by very few individuals.

“These provocative and shameful acts do not represent the views of the Danish government. Appeal to all to deescalate – violence must never be the response.”

In Baghdad on Saturday, security forces used tear gas to prevent large crowds from reaching the Danish embassy. Bridges leading to the city’s fortified Green Zone, home to many foreign embassies, were closed.

Last Friday, Sweden evacuated its embassy staff from Baghdad after the building was stormed by protesters – mainly followers of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Iraq also expelled the Swedish ambassador.

This came after an Iraqi Christian refugee had been given permission by Swedish police to burn a Quran in Stockholm for the second time. He stamped on the book but did not set fire to it.

The Stockholm protests were allowed to go ahead after courts overturned a police ban, citing the legal right to freedom of assembly.

Swedish authorities have condemned the burning of the holy book as Islamophobic.

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