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Protests across Middle East over burning of Quran in Sweden

  • 27 Jan 2023

Recent desecration of the Quran in the West by provocateurs has sparked anger among Muslims across the world, who don't believe that "freedom of expression" means offending the beliefs of a certain group.

Iranians protest in Tehran on January 27, 2023, against the burning of a Quran in Sweden. ( Muhammad Sajjad / AFP )

Protests have been held in predominantly Muslim countries to denounce the recent desecration of Islam’s holy book by far-right extremists in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Friday's protests in countries including Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon ended with people dispersing peacefully. In Pakistan's capital of Islamabad, police officers stopped some demonstrators trying to march toward the Swedish Embassy.

In Beirut, about 200 people protested Sweden and the Netherlands outside the blue-domed Mohammed Al Amin Mosque at Beirut’s central Martyrs Square.

Earlier this month, a far-right extremist from Denmark received permission from Swedish authorities to stage a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm where he burned the Quran, Islam’s holy book.

READ MORE: The burning of the Quran: Why Sweden is headed for disaster

Days later, Edwin Wagensveld, Dutch leader of the far-right Pegida movement in the Netherlands, tore pages out of a copy of the Quran near the Dutch Parliament and stomped on the pages.

The moves angered millions of Muslims around the world and triggered protests.

Iraq’s powerful Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr asked in comments released on Friday whether freedom of speech means offending other people’s beliefs. 

Hundreds of his supporters gathered outside a mosque in Baghdad, waving copies of the Quran.

READ MORE: Dutch leader of far-right PEGIDA group desecrates copy of Quran

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