JEDDAH: Iraq condemned the burning of a copy of the Qur’an in front of its embassy in Copenhagen on Monday and said Danish staff at their embassy in Baghdad had left the country.
Protests have raged across Iran and Iraq and there has been widespread condemnation from the Muslim world after Denmark and Sweden allowed the burning of the Qur’an under rules protecting free speech.
Two anti-Islam protesters set fire to a copy of the holy book in front of the Iraqi embassy in the Danish capital on Monday, in a second event organised by the extreme-right Danske Patrioter group.
The group posted a video in which a man is seen desecrating and burning what appeared to be Qur’an, and trampling an Iraqi flag. The latest video followed a similar event on Friday and others in recent weeks in Sweden.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry “strongly condemns, again, the repetition of the burning of a copy of the holy Qur’an in front of the Iraqi embassy in Denmark,” it said. Such acts allowed “the virus of extremism and hate” to pose “a real threat to the peaceful coexistence of societies.”
Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen also condemned the Qur’an burning. “These provocative and shameful acts do not represent the views of the Danish government. I appeal to all to deescalate — violence must never be the response,” he said.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry called on authorities in European countries to “quickly reconsider so-called freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate.”
Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani met ambassadors from EU countries on Monday, and criticized the Qur’an desecrations. He said such actions had “nothing to do with freedom of expression,” and called on EU countries to “fight such racist acts and all those that incite violence.”