Protests in the Middle East after anti-Quran actions and the burning of Dutch flags

Protests in the Middle East after anti-Quran actions and the burning of Dutch flags

France Press agency

NOS News

In a number of Muslim countries, demonstrations took place against anti-Quran actions by far-right activists in the Netherlands and Sweden. Demonstrations took place in Lebanon, Pakistan, Iraq and cities in Afghanistan.

Last weekend, pages were torn from the Quran at a protest in The Hague. In Stockholm, the Muslim holy book was set on fire.

In the Lebanese capital, Beirut, about 200 protesters were present in the central Martyrs’ Square, according to the Associated Press news agency. They set fire to the flags of the Netherlands and Sweden. In the Afghan capital, Kabul, the same thing happened with the inverted Dutch flag with a red cross on it. Protests were also held in other cities in Afghanistan.

These are photos from the protests in Lebanon and Afghanistan:

Burning the Dutch flag in Afghanistan and Lebanon

In Iraq, hundreds of supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr gathered at a Baghdad mosque, holding Qurans.

The cleric said burning the Qur’an would “bring divine wrath” and questioned whether freedom of expression meant that others’ beliefs could be offended.

And in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, the police stopped the demonstrators who wanted to go to the Swedish embassy.

France Press agency

Demonstrators in the city of Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan

Last Sunday, the leader of the anti-Islam organization PEGIDA, Edwin Wagensfeld, tore pages from the Koran in The Hague. The municipality allowed this protest on the grounds of freedom of speech.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry spoke of a “cowardly attack on our holy book” and contacted the Dutch ambassador accountable.

The day before, on Saturday, a far-right Danish-Swedish activist had burned a Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. He had permission from the police to do so. President Erdogan used this event to reinforce his temporary rejection of Sweden’s membership in NATO.

A leading Egyptian university has called for a boycott of Dutch and Swedish products.

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