Iraq expels Swedish ambassador over Quran burning

Baghdad, Jul 20 (EFE).- The Iraqi government on Thursday asked the Swedish ambassador to leave Baghdad, and recalled its charge d’affaires in the Scandinavian country in protest against the burning of the Quran in Stockholm.

“Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al Sudani ordered the Foreign Ministry to recall the Iraqi Chargé d’Affaires from the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in the Swedish capital Stockholm,” Iraqi government spokesperson Bassem al-Awadi said in a statement.

The Iraqi government has also asked the Swedish ambassador in Baghdad “to leave Iraqi territory” in response to the Swedish government’s repeated authorization of burning the Quran, causing outrage among Muslims in several parts of the world.

The Iraqi government informed the Swedish government on Wednesday that it would break diplomatic ties with Sweden “should the incident of burning the Noble Quran be repeated on its lands.”

The Iraqi government also sharply criticized the Swedish government for authorizing the burning of the Quran “under the pretext of freedom of expression.”

“Such provocative actions violate international covenants and norms respecting religious beliefs, posing a threat to peace and inciting a culture of violence and hatred,” it said.

Iraq’s decision came just hours after hundreds of protesters entered the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, where foreign embassies are located, and set fire to the Swedish embassy facilities.

The Iraqi government condemned the burning of the Swedish embassy and considered it “as a security breach.”

Apart from those responsible for the incident, “negligent security officials will also face investigation, and legal measures will be taken against them,” the statement said.

The Swedish government, on its part, condemned the attack on its embassy as “unacceptable” and said it would summon the Iraqi ambassador in Stockholm over the incident.

Iraqis have been protesting for a week in response to the burning of the Muslim holy book by radical elements outside a Stockholm mosque in late June, an act that has been widely condemned by the Arab nations and Islamic world. EFE


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