Swedish embassy in Iraq relocates after attack over Quran burning | Religion News

Swedish telecoms company Ericsson is also looking into reports that Iraq has suspended its work permits there.

The Swedish embassy in Iraq is temporarily moving operations to Stockholm, the country’s foreign ministry has said, a day after it was attacked in protest against a second event held to desecrate the Quran in Sweden.

“The embassy’s operations and its expatriate staff have been temporarily relocated to Stockholm for security reasons,” the foreign ministry said on Friday.

Hundreds of Iraqis, mainly followers of the populist Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, stormed the embassy in central Baghdad early on Thursday and set it on fire. The Iraqi government later expelled the Swedish ambassador.

The embassy’s move also comes as the Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson said it was looking into reports that Iraq had suspended the work permits of its employees.

Iraqi state media reported on Thursday that Baghdad suspended the permits in protest against the Quran desecration event, but on Friday the Iraqi prime minister’s foreign affairs advisor Farhad Alaadin said that Ericsson had not been suspended.

“The incidents in Sweden, involving the burning of the holy Quran, is deeply offensive to the religious beliefs and values cherished by Muslims around the world,” an Ericsson spokesperson said.

“This act does not reflect Ericsson’s core value of respect.”

Ericsson has about 30 full-time employees in Iraq, whose safety is the company’s top priority, a company spokesperson said.

“We respect all cultures and religions, and we place great importance on respecting our customers and our employees – and the communities in which we operate,” the spokesperson said.

“It is deeply problematic when freedom of expression turns to alienation between different cultures or religions.”

A demonstration was held on Thursday in Stockholm where provocateurs kicked and partially damaged a book they said was the Quran. The protesters did not burn the book as they had initially threatened to do.

Reactions from the Middle East poured in after the event in Stockholm, while Western countries condemned the storming of the Swedish embassy in Iraq.

On Friday, protests took place in both Iraq and Iran to denounce Sweden’s permission for the desecration of the Quran.

The event in Stockholm was planned by Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Christian Iraqi refugee in Sweden, who also burned pages of a Quran on June 28, the earlier incident prompting mass protests in Iraq and condemnations from Muslim-majority countries.

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