Iraq severs diplomatic ties with Sweden

Al-Sudani has also asked the Swedish ambassador in Baghdad to leave Iraq as a response to the Swedish government's re-authorization to burn a copy of the Holy Quran and the Iraqi flag.
The Flags of Sweden and Iraq
The Flags of Sweden and Iraq

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The Iraqi government on Thursday decided to sever all diplomatic ties with Sweden after an Iraqi diaspora member in Stockholm desecrated the Quran and Iraqi flag.

Bassem al-Awadi, the spokesman for the Iraqi government, said that the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to remove the head of affairs of the Iraqi Embassy in Sweden. Al-Sudani has also asked the Swedish ambassador in Baghdad to leave Iraq as a response to the Swedish government's re-authorization to burn a copy of the Holy Quran and the Iraqi flag.

Salwan Momika, 37, had previously threatened to burn both the Quran and the Iraqi flag on Thursday, but rather, he chose to stomp on the objects under unclear circumstances.

‎Meanwhile, a number of Iraqi citizens in Sweden protested where Momika held his desecration event, however, Swedish police barricaded them to prevent an altercation.

‎Following the decision, the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi expressed support for the Iraqi government's move, saying in a statement in Thursday’s session of Iraqi parliament, "We express our anger and complete rejection of the protection and permission of the Swedish government through the process of publicly insulting the Holy Quran."‎

‎Al-Halbousi expressed his support for the government's decision to sever diplomatic relations with Sweden, adding that it supports measures taken against any country that does not respect Muslim sanctities.‎

‎The Framework for Cooperation also expressed support for the Iraqi government's decision, and it called on citizens to hold demonstrations on Friday.‎

‎In a statement, the Framework for Cooperation strongly condemned the Swedish government's permission to burn a copy of the Holy Quran and the Iraqi flag in front of the Iraqi embassy in the country and called on Islamic countries and the Islamic Cooperation Organization to take serious action against Sweden.‎

Earlier on Thursday morning, before the burning was set to take place, dozens of supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement, preemptively  stormed the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad and burned down part of the building.  

Previously on June 28, Momika had set a number of the Quran’s pages ablaze as Sunni Muslims around the world marked the first day of the Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) holiday. In the presence of heavy police presence, Momika, stomping on the Quran, lit a few pages of the holy book on fire before kicking it. He put a few strips of bacon, whose consumption is forbidden in Islam, inside the Quran in an act to further infuriate the crowd near the mosque.

READ MORE: Iraq slams Sweden for allowing its diaspora member to burn Quran (kurdistan24.net)