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Iran summons Sweden’s envoy to convey vehement protest at desecration of Holy Qur'an

The file photo shows a view of the Iranian Foreign Ministry building in Tehran.

Iran's Foreign Ministry has summoned the chargé d'affaires of Sweden to convey the Islamic Republic’s vehement protest at the desecration of the Holy Qur’an by a Swedish far-right group during the fasting month of Ramadan.

The Swedish envoy was summoned on Sunday by Iranian Foreign Ministry’s head of the Third Western Europe Bureau, who expressed Iran’s strong protest at the sacrilege of Islam’s holy book by the leader of a far-right group under the protection of Sweden’s police and on the pretext of the freedom of expression.

Rasmus Paludan, the Danish leader of Sweden’s far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party tried to burn a copy of the Qur’an in a heavily-populated Muslim area on Saturday.

Paludan, accompanied by police, went to an open public space in the southern Swedish city of Linkoping and reportedly placed the Muslim holy book down and tried to set it on fire while ignoring protests from onlookers.

During the Sunday summoning, the Iranian Foreign Ministry official strongly condemned the sacrilege of the Qur'an, reminding the Sweden’s government of its responsibility in this regard.

He also called on Sweden to take an immediate and categorical step to end desecration of the Holy Qur'an and guarantee that such acts will not be repeated in the future.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry official added that insulting the sanctities of more than two billion Muslims of the world and hurting their feelings is the worst possible abuse of freedom of speech.

“This regrettable incident, which was carried out under protection of the Swedish police has marred the image of Sweden among Muslims of the world,” the Iranian official said.

The Swedish diplomat, for his part, expressed regret over the incident, adding that he will inform his country’s officials of Iran’s protest as soon as possible.

Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also denounced the desecration of the Holy Qur’an by the Swedish far-right group, saying the blasphemous act is a clear example of hatemongering and in contravention of speech freedom.

Khatibzadeh said Iran “strongly condemns the burning of the Holy Qur’an by an extremist racist Danish element in the Swedish city of Linkoping, which took place under the pretext of freedom of expression and under the auspices of the Swedish police.”

Violent clashes continue over desecration of Qur'an in Sweden

Violent clashes with counter-demonstrators continued in Sweden for the third consecutive day over desecration of the Holy Qur’an, police said on Sunday.

In a statement, police announced that the protesters burnt litter bins, a bus and a car in a series of incidents in the southern city of Malmo overnight.

"The situation calmed down towards 3:00 am (0100 GMT)," police spokeswoman Kim Hild told SR public radio.

She said no officers were hurt, but a number of members of the public were slightly injured.

Nearly 20 complaints had been filed, including for vandalism.

Similar clashes were held in recent days in protest at the blasphemous act.

On Saturday, fierce clashes broke out between police and protesters in a central Sweden Muslim-dominated area during demonstrations against the move.

The blasphemous act prompted counter-protesters, around 200 people by local media’s estimate, to break into the rally and clash with the members of the far-right party and Swedish police.

And on Friday, nine police officers were injured in similar clashes in Orebro in central Sweden.

During a riot in the city of Linkoping in eastern Sweden on Thursday, three police officers had to be taken to hospital. Two people were arrested at that protest.

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