The Foreign Ministry of Iraq has formally requested that Sweden extradite an Iraqi man who publicly burned a copy of the Quran outside a mosque in Stockholm.
The purpose of the extradition is to subject the individual to the legal proceedings in Iraq, as stated by the country’s laws.
In a phone conversation on Friday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein made this request to his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billstrom, according to an official statement released by the ministry.
Minister Hussein emphasized that the act of burning the Quran goes beyond the boundaries of freedom of speech. He argued that such actions not only promote violence but also contribute to the rise of Islamophobia. Furthermore, he expressed the global impact of this offensive act, which has deeply hurt the sentiments of Muslims worldwide.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry urges the Swedish government to take the necessary measures to facilitate the transfer of the Iraqi immigrant to Baghdad, where he will be subjected to legal proceedings in accordance with Iraqi law. Ahmed al-Sahhaf, the spokesman for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, stated, “The individual who desecrated the Holy Quran is an Iraqi citizen. Therefore, we demand that the Swedish government extradite him to Iraq for trial under Iraqi law.”
The incident occurred on Wednesday when Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi immigrant, openly stomped on the Quran and set several pages on fire outside Stockholm’s largest mosque. It is important to note that the act was carried out with the consent and protection of the Swedish police.
This incident, which coincided with the start of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha and the conclusion of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, has sparked outrage among Muslims worldwide.
As a response to the incident, the Swedish Ambassador to Iraq, Jessica Svardstrom, was summoned to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Thursday. During the meeting, the ministry expressed a firm protest regarding the incident and emphasized that no legal or freedom of speech justifications can justify the desecration of sacred objects.
Protests in Iraq, Other Muslim Countries
In response to the Quran burning incident, a significant number of Iraqis gathered near the Swedish embassy in Baghdad to express their outrage. They demanded the expulsion of the Swedish ambassador as a form of protest against this disrespectful act.
Similar demonstrations occurred in various Muslim countries as people took to the streets to voice their condemnation of the incident.
The individual responsible for the offensive act stated in an interview with a Swedish newspaper on Thursday that he intends to repeat his protest in July.
It is noteworthy that Sweden has witnessed multiple instances of Quran burnings in recent years. In January, a right-wing extremist from Sweden and Denmark burned a copy of the Quran in close proximity to the Turkish embassy in Stockholm.
EU Strongly Condemns Quran Burning Incident
The European Union (EU) has issued a resolute condemnation of the recent Quran burning outside a mosque in Stockholm, describing it as a “clear act of provocation.”
In a statement released on Saturday, the EU expressed its disapproval of this offensive and disrespectful act, emphasizing that it does not reflect the views of the bloc as a whole. The EU firmly stated that manifestations of racism, xenophobia, and related forms of intolerance have no place in Europe.
The statement reiterated the EU’s commitment to upholding freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression, both within its member states and on an international scale. It stressed the need for unity, mutual understanding, and respect in order to prevent any further escalation of tensions.
The EU also acknowledged the timing of the incident, noting that the act was particularly offensive as it occurred during the celebration of Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, observed by Muslims worldwide.
Source: Al-Manar English Website