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IN DATES: A short history of Sweden's Quran-burning crisis

TT/The Local
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IN DATES: A short history of Sweden's Quran-burning crisis
Protesters clash with members of the police as they gather near the Swedish embassy in Baghdad hours after the embassy was stormed. Photo: Reuters/Ahmed Saad

Sweden's Quran crisis started with the Easter riots in 2022 and is continuing to damage the country's image internationally. These are the five main events.


Easter 2022 

Rasmus Paludan, leader of Denmark's extreme right Hard Line party holds a series of protests in cities across Sweden where he publicly burnt the Quran, with many of his protests being followed by rioting, vandalism, and violent attacks, primarily directed towards the police, who had been depicted in videos spead on social media as protecting Paludan. 

Counter-protesters set fire to a police bus in Sveaparken in Örebro, where Rasmus Paludan, received permission for a rally on Good Friday. Photo: Kicki Nilsson / TT Ritzau Scanpix

January 2023

Paludan burns a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, leading to protests in Turkey and in many other countries. During the spring, Paludan was refused permission for further protests at which he intended to burn the Quran.


The Danish anti-Islamic extremist Rasmus Paludan poses with a Koran outside Turkey's Stockholm embassy in January. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

June 28th, 2023 

The Iraqi activist Salwan Momika on June 28th burned a copy of the Quran outside the mosque at Medborgarplatsen in Stockholm, causing violent protests in Bagdad, the capital of Iraq, where demonstrators gathered outside the Swedish embassy with some even managing to enter the building.

Morocco recalled its ambassador to Sweden in protest and Iran said it was considering not sending its new ambassador to Sweden. Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iraq all summoned Sweden's top envoy in their countries for a dressing down over the Quran burnings. 

Pakistan's prime minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his disapproval of the Quran burning, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation called for collective measures from its 57 member states to stop future burnings.

The Iraqi anti-Islam campaigner Salwan Momika burns a copy of the Quran outside the mosque in Stockholm. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

July 19th and 20th, 2023

On the night of July 19th demonstrators stormed the Swedish embassy in Iraq, setting the building on fire and forcing security measures to protect  the staff in the building. 

The protests were launched after police in Sweden granted permission to Momika to burn a copy of the Quran outside Iraq's embassy in Stockholm. 

Momika then carried out his protest on July 20th, kicking and stamping on a copy of the Quran, but not, in the end, burning it. 


The activist Salwan Momika kicks a copy of the Quran outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm on July 20th. Photo: Oscar Olsson/TT

July 20th to July 22nd

Iran's head of state and spiritual leader Ali Khamenei accuses Sweden's government of trying to launch a war on the Islamic world, with Hizbollah, the Shia Islamist political party and militant group in Lebanon calling for Sweden's ambassador to be ordered to return to Sweden. 

Saudi Arabia and Jordan both summoned their respective Swedish ambassadors, while Turkey, Syria, and Qatar all condemned the demonstration. 


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