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Denmark's latest Quran burning sparks more outrage in Iraq and other Muslim nations

Iraqis raise copies of the Quran, Muslims' holy book, during a protest in Baghdad, Saturday. Hundreds of protesters attempted to storm Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses foreign embassies and the seat of Iraq's government, following reports of the burning of a Quran by a ultranationalist group in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Copenhagen.
Hadi Mizban
/
AP
Iraqis raise copies of the Quran, Muslims' holy book, during a protest in Baghdad, Saturday. Hundreds of protesters attempted to storm Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses foreign embassies and the seat of Iraq's government, following reports of the burning of a Quran by a ultranationalist group in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Copenhagen.

Protesters set fire to a copy of the Quran outside the Iraqi Embassy in Denmark's capital of Copenhagen on Monday, drawing condemnation from Iraq and other Muslim-majority countries.

It was the second time in just a few days protesters from an ultranationalist group called Danish Patriots burned the Quran, following similar acts by different groups in neighboring Sweden.

The acts have set off public protests in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan and elsewhere.

Swedish and Danish officials have condemned the desecration of the Quran but allowed such actions to go forward under the countries' freedom of expression and right to protest laws.

On Monday, the Iraqi government called on European countries to "reconsider" those laws.

Protests in Iraq

The day after the Quran burning Friday in Copenhagen, hundreds of protesters in Iraq tried to storm Baghdad's Green Zone, a heavily guarded area that houses foreign embassies and Iraqi government buildings. In the Iraqi city of Basra, demonstrators attacked facilities of the Danish Refugee Council, an aid group.

Protesters previously attacked the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad over anti-Islam demonstrations that took place in Sweden's capital, Stockholm. Iraq's government expelled the Swedish ambassador and pulled the Iraqi chargé d'affaires out of Stockholm over the Scandinavian country's failure to stop the desecration of the Muslim holy book.

Ruth Sherlock reported from Beirut; Esme Nicholson reported from Berlin. Alex Leff contributed to this story from Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ruth Sherlock
Ruth Sherlock is an International Correspondent with National Public Radio. She's based in Beirut and reports on Syria and other countries around the Middle East. She was previously the United States Editor for the Daily Telegraph, covering the 2016 US election. Before moving to the US in the spring of 2015, she was the Telegraph's Middle East correspondent.
Esme Nicholson