Saudi summons Swedish diplomat over Quran protests, Shahbaz Sharif slams desecratory acts - GulfToday

Saudi summons Swedish diplomat over Quran protests, Shahbaz Sharif slams desecratory acts


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Saudi Arabia said late on Thursday it was summoning a Swedish diplomat to denounce the issuing of permits for protests that desecrate the Quran. The foreign ministry of the Gulf kingdom, home to the Muslim holy places, said in a statement it would hand the Swedish charge d'affaires "a protest note that includes the kingdom's request to the Swedish authorities to take all immediate and necessary measures to stop these disgraceful acts."

The move comes amid heightened tensions between Sweden and Iraq over a Sweden-based Iraqi refugee who last month burnt pages of the Quran outside Stockholm's main mosque. In Pakistan, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif strongly condemned the events in Sweden. He called on the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to play a "historic role in expressing the sentiments of Muslims and stopping this demonisation.”

Meanwhile, hardliners in his country have been pushing Sharif, who faces an upcoming election, to cut diplomatic ties with Sweden. In the latest such incident on Thursday, the refugee, Salwan Momika, stepped on the Quran but did not burn it. News that Swedish authorities would permit the demonstration to go ahead had led hundreds of Iraqis to storm and torch Sweden's Baghdad embassy in a chaotic pre-dawn attack.

Iraq's government condemned the attack, but retaliated against the protest in Sweden by expelling its ambassador, vowing to sever ties and suspending the operating licence of Swedish telecom giant Ericsson. Saudi Arabia also condemned the June Quran burning and called for Sweden "to stop all actions that directly contradict international efforts seeking to spread the values of tolerance, moderation and rejection of extremism, and undermine the necessary mutual respect for relations between peoples and states".

That incident occurred during the Eid Al Adha holiday, sparking indignation and diplomatic protests across the Muslim world. On Thursday, the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation denounced the latest Stockholm protest as "another provocative attack" that could not be justified under the right to freedom of expression.

Iraq, Lebanon and Iran plan protests In Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, protesters planned demonstrations after Swedish police permitted a protest on Thursday in which an Iraqi Christian living in Stockholm kicked and stood on a Quran, outside the Iraqi Embassy. Hours before that, demonstrators in Baghdad broke into the Swedish Embassy and lit a fire to show their anger at his threats to burn the book.


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