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Morocco Recalls Ambassador From Sweden After Koran Burning

Morocco has recalled its ambassador to Sweden after the burning of a Koran outside Stockholm’s main mosque on Wednesday.

Morocco condemned the act, which coincided with the start of the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Adha, as “offensive and irresponsible”. 

Sweden’s ambassador to Morocco in Rabat was summoned by the Foreign Affairs Minister who expressed Morocco’s “strong condemnation of this attack and its rejection of this unacceptable act”.

Police authorisation

The protest, organised by an Iraqi Kurd called Salwan Momika, 37, was permitted by the Swedish police,  who said that the security risks associated with the burning “were not of a nature that could justify, under current laws, a decision to reject the request.”

The authorisation came two weeks after the police’s decision to deny permits for two other demonstrations involving Koran burnings were rejected by a Swedish appeals court. 

The appeals court ruled that police were wrong to ban those, saying “the order and security problems” referenced by the police did not have “a sufficiently clear connection to the planned event or its immediate vicinity.”

Diplomatic fallout

In January, a burning of the Muslim holy book outside the Turkish embassy led to weeks of protests and sparked diplomatic tensions with Turkey, further stalling Sweden’s NATO membership bid.

Turkey has blocked the country’s NATO bid due to what it perceives as Stockholm’s failure to crack down on Kurdish groups it considers “terrorists”. 

 The organiser of Wednesday’s protest, who fled from Iraq to Sweden several years ago, told news agency TT in advance of the protest that he wanted to highlight the importance of free speech. 

“This is democracy. It is in danger if they tell us we can’t do this,” Momika said.

Similar acts have in the past sparked violent protests and outrage across the Muslim world. 

In Sweden, politicians have criticised Koran burnings but remain adamant in their defence of the right to freedom of expression.

Source : Africa News