Several nations with a large Muslim population have condemned the burning of a Quran during a protest in Sweden.
A copy of the Islamic Quran was set on fire on Wednesday in front of Stockholm’s main mosque by Salwan Momika, who is reportedly an Iraqi resident in Sweden.
According to the BBC, countries in the Middle East such as Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt strongly condemned the burning.
And Turkey, a Nato member with a say over whether Sweden gains membership, called it a “despicable act”.
Turkey – which was also angered by a Quran burning protest earlier this year – said it was “unacceptable” to allow such “anti-Islamic actions” to take place “under the pretext of freedom of expression”.
Muslims believe the Quran as a sacred text from God and find it highly insulting when it is intentionally harmed or treated disrespectfully.
As Muslims worldwide observed the first day of Eid al-Adha, one of the most significant holidays in the Muslim calendar, the Quran was burned on Wednesday.
According to the BBC, Mr. Momika received permission from the Swedish police to protest in compliance with the country’s free speech regulations. Police then stated that a probe was being conducted into the incident for possible racial provocation.
The protest sparked anger among other nations too.
Morocco and Jordan have recalled their ambassadors to Stockholm, and Morocco has also summoned Sweden’s charge d’affaires in Rabat.
Iraq said the incident was “a reflection of a hateful aggressive spirit that has nothing to do with freedom of expression.”
Iran echoed Iraq’s criticism, calling the act of burning the Quran “provocative” and “unacceptable”, while Egypt described it as a “shameful” act which was especially provocative as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha.
This week, over 1.8 million pilgrims traveled to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia declared, “These hateful and repeated acts cannot be accepted with any justification.”
Ulf Kristersson, the prime minister of Sweden, stated that it was “legal but not appropriate” to burn the Quran.
In recent months, riots have broken out in Sweden as a result of plans to burn copies of the Quran.
Similar protest petitions have recently been denied by the police, but judges later decided that they should be approved on the grounds of freedom of expression.