An assailant threw a Molotov cocktail, a makeshift bomb consisting of a bottle filled with flammable liquid, at the Sweden Embassy in Beirut. The incident caused no casualties, according to statements from Stockholm’s foreign minister and a diplomatic source on Thursday. The attack occurred amid growing anger over recent instances of disrespect towards the Holy Quran.
“We can confirm that a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the front of our embassy last evening, but it did not detonate,” stated an anonymous diplomatic source from the embassy. The source added that the individuals responsible for the attack managed to escape.
Tensions have escalated between Sweden and several Muslim-majority countries following a series of protests involving public desecration of the Holy Quran in Stockholm, which included setting pages on fire. In response, multi-confessional Lebanon witnessed protests at a mosque, and the leader of the influential pro-Iranian Muslim group Hezbollah called for the expulsion of the Swedish ambassador.
In response to fears of further attacks, Lebanese security forces have increased measures around the embassy in downtown Beirut. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Bilstorm remarked that it was fortunate that no injuries occurred in the Wednesday attack and assured that the embassy staff were safe.
Bilstorm stated in a Thursday press release that an investigation into the incident is underway. He also emphasized that Lebanese authorities have a responsibility under the Vienna Convention to safeguard diplomatic missions.
Last month, two Iraqi refugee men ignited a copy of the Holy Quran outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm, echoing similar acts that had drawn widespread condemnation in recent weeks. Salwan Monika and Salwan Najam stomped on the sacred book, set its pages ablaze, and slammed it shut during a protest outside Stockholm’s main mosque in June.
The duo conducted a similar protest outside the Iraq embassy in the Swedish capital on July 20, where they desecrated religious texts by stomping on them. These incidents garnered strong reactions across the Muslim world, leading several nations, including Pakistan, to condemn these actions on international platforms.
In July, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution on religious hatred, presented by Pakistan on behalf of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The resolution urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to release a report on religious hatred and called on states to review their laws and address gaps that could hinder the prevention and prosecution of acts promoting religious hatred.
During the same month, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a Moroccan resolution, co-sponsored by Pakistan, aimed at countering hate speech. The resolution strongly denounced attacks against places of worship, religious symbols, and holy books. Titled “Promoting Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue and Tolerance in Countering Hate Speech,” the resolution gained approval from all 193 assembly members. It vehemently condemned all acts of violence based on religion or beliefs, including those targeting religious symbols, holy books, residences, businesses, properties, schools, cultural sites, and places of worship, as well as violations of international law involving attacks on religious places, sites, and shrines.