Iraqi leaders vow strong action against Quran desecration as protests escalate
During a meeting in Baghdad on Sunday, President Abdullatif Jamal Rashid, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi, and head of the Supreme Judicial Council Fayek Zaydan expressed unwavering support for the government's efforts to safeguard the sanctity of Islamic religious texts and symbols.
The leaders condemned the deliberate desecration of the holy Quran and criticised the Swedish authorities for granting licenses to allow such act.
Iraq expelled the Swedish ambassador and recalled Iraq's chargé d'affaires in Sweden last week, in an angry response to a protest in Sweden where a copy of the Quran was desecrated. The incident triggered widespread protests in Iraq, primarily organised by followers of influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Baghdad also suspended Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson's operating licence.
The issue has drawn international attention and seen condemnations from Muslim and Arab countries with Iraq taking a lead role in the protests.
Sweden has responded to Iraq's strong stance by indicating its willingness to engage in discussions to address the situation and prevent further escalations.
Anti-Islam protesters, one of whom is an Iraqi immigrant to Sweden who burned the Quran outside a Stockholm mosque in June, had received permission from Swedish police to do the same outside the Iraqi embassy on Thursday.
In the event, the protesters kicked and partially destroyed a book they said was the Quran but left the area after an hour without setting it alight.
The Quran, the central religious text of Islam, is believed by Muslims to be a revelation from God.