Sweden In The Eye Of A Storm After Sacrilegious Protest

Sweden In The Eye Of A Storm After Sacrilegious Protest
Sweden has opened an investigation into an incident where a man allegedly desecrated the Holy Quran during a protest outside the largest mosque in Stockholm on the occasion of Eidul Adha. The incident put the spotlight on the Nordic state, with condemnations pouring in from the Muslim world.

On Wednesday, when a large section of the Muslim world observed Eidul Adha and the culmination of the annual pilgrimage of Hajj, a 37-year-old immigrant from Iraq desecrated the Holy Quran outside the largest mosque in Stockholm.

Police had initially granted permission for the protest in line with free-speech regulations of the country. But later, the Swedish government said an investigation had been launched against the man for causing 'agitation'.

Iraq joined other Middle Eastern states, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran and even Afghanistan, in condemning the incident.

"These events inflame the feelings of Muslims around the world and represent a dangerous provocation for them," the Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement.

There were subsequently calls for holding protests outside Swedish diplomatic missions in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia said that such "hateful and repeated acts cannot be accepted with any justification."

Iran termed the incident "provocative, ill-considered and unacceptable."

"The government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran... do not tolerate such an insult and strongly condemn it," said Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani.

"The Swedish government is expected to seriously consider the principle of responsibility and accountability in this regard while preventing the repetition of insulting the holy sanctities," he added.

Cairo-based Arab League branded the incident an "assault on the core of our Islamic faith".

Hezbollah in Lebanon accused the Swedish authorities of being "complicit in the crime".

The strong reaction came since this was the second such incident to take place in Sweden this year. In January, a Swedish-Danish right-wing extremist burned a copy of the Holy Quran near the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, also triggering outrage in the Muslim world.

Shooting outside US Consulate in Saudi Arabia

A security guard and a lone gunman were killed in a standoff outside the US Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday evening.

Saudi Arabia, US Consulate, Nepal, gun attack
Saudi security forces patrol the area of the US consulate in Jeddah early on June 29, 2023 after a security guard and a gunman were both killed in an exchange of gunfire outside the US Consulate.diplomacy

"At 6:45 pm (1545 GMT), a man stopped in a car in front of the consulate building and got out with a weapon in his hand," the official Saudi Press Agency reported, quoting a police spokesman.

"Security forces reacted... resulting in an exchange of fire that killed the assailant," the report read, adding that the Nepalese security guard later died of his wounds.

The US said no Americans were hurt in the incident, and the consulate remains secure.

Jeddah police said that they are still investigating the circumstances of the incident.

The Saudi authorities have not commented on the gunman's nationality.

"We offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased local guard," the State Department said in a statement, adding that Washington was in contact with Riyadh over the investigation.