Two protesters burn Quran outside Iraqi embassy in Denmark

The incident is the latest in a string of Quran burnings in Sweden and Denmark that prompted protests in the Middle East.

Protesters from the "Danish Patriots"
Protesters from the Danish Patriots demonstrate in front of the Iraqi embassy in Copenhagen [Ritzau Scanpix/Thomas Sjoerup/via Reuters]

Two protesters have set fire to a copy of Islam’s holy book, the Quran, in front of the Iraqi embassy in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen.

The duo from a group that calls itself Danish Patriots stomped on the Quran on Monday and set it alight in a tin foil tray next to the Iraqi flag lying on the ground.

Shortly after the incident, Iraq’s foreign ministry called on the authorities of countries in the European Union to “quickly reconsider so-called freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate”, according to the Iraqi state news agency INA.

The far-right, ultra-nationalist Danish Patriots held a similar demonstration last week and live-streamed the events on Facebook.

After last week’s incident, Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen condemned it as an act of “stupidity” by a few individuals, telling national broadcaster DR: “It is a disgraceful act to insult the religion of others.”

“This applies to the burning of Qurans and other religious symbols. It has no other purpose than to provoke and create division,” he said. He noted, however, that burning religious books was not a crime in Denmark.

The tension between Muslim countries and the two Scandinavian nations intensified last month after a 37-year-old Christian Iraqi refugee in Sweden, Salwan Momika, burned pages of the Quran on the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha.

On Sunday, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a coalition of 57 Muslim countries, suspended the status of Sweden’s special envoy over the string of Quran burnings, saying the decision was due to the “granting by the Swedish authorities of licenses that enabled the repeated abuse of the sanctity of the Holy Quran and Islamic symbols”.

Iraqi protestors burning a Swedish flag
Supporters of the former paramilitary group Hashd al-Shaabi burn a Swedish flag during a protest in Baghdad’s Tahrir square [File: Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP]

A day earlier, several thousand Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad over Islamophobic protests in the two Scandinavian countries.

Iraqi security forces repelled the protest 48 hours after the Swedish embassy in Baghdad was overrun and set alight in protest at a planned burning of the Muslim holy book in Stockholm.

Thursday’s anti-Islam demonstration in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, prompted Middle Eastern states, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, the region’s leading Sunni and Shia powers, to summon Swedish diplomats in protest.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Saturday urged Sweden to hand over culprits to Islamic nations’ judiciaries.

“The Swedish government should know that by supporting the criminal who burnt the Holy Quran it has gone into battle array for war on the Muslim world,” he said on Twitter.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies