Thousands protest in Iraq for a second day over burning of Quran in Sweden

by | Jul 3, 2023 | Religion

BASRA, Iraq (AP) — Thousands of followers of a firebrand Iraqi Shiite cleric rallied in major cities in Iraq on Friday, condemning the burning of a Quran during a protest in Sweden earlier this week. Some of the demonstrators called for expulsion of the Swedish ambassador from Iraq.At the rallies in the capital of Baghdad and the southern city of Basra, followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, a cleric with a large grassroots following and political leader, burned Swedish flags and rainbow LGBTQ+ pride flags and chanted ”“Yes, yes to Islam” and “No, no to the devil.”
Addressing the crowds in a speech in the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, Friday prayers preacher Sayyid Sattar Batat, called on Iraqi authorities to “if necessary, expel the Swedish ambassador and cut all diplomatic relations with them.”
The protests came a day after hundreds of protesters briefly stormed the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad.
On Wednesday, a man who identified himself in Swedish media as a refugee from Iraq burned a Quran outside a mosque in central Stockholm.
An Iraqi security official said the man was an Iraqi Christian who had previously fought in a Christian unit of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a collection of mostly Shiite militias that were incorporated into the country’s armed forces in 2016. The official spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.
Swedish police had auth …

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