Anger mounts over Quran desecration in Sweden

Governments and street protests in several Muslim-majority Arab countries on Friday denounced the renewed desecration of a Quran in Sweden.

Saudi Arabia, Islam’s birthplace, expressed strong denunciation of the “repeated and irresponsible actions of the Swedish authorities” in permitting “extremists” to desecrate copies of the Quran, the monarchy’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added it would summon the Swedish chargé d’affaires to hand him a protest note.

Egypt said it condemned the repeated desecration of the Quran, describing it as a “glaring defiance” to the feelings of millions of Muslims around the world.

In Iraq, which was locked in a diplomatic row with Sweden, loyalists of the influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were seen attending Friday noon prayers in the capital Baghdad with some of them holding copies of the Quran.

Al-Sadr’s backers also staged an angry protest in the southern city of Karbla following Friday prayers and torched the Swedish flag and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender banner, according to Iraq’s independent website Alsumaria News.

In Lebanon, thousands of followers of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement took to the streets and staged sit-in protests.

Carrying copies of the Quran in their hands, the protesters chanted: “With our blood, we protect the holy Quran.”