Anti-Islam activist burns Quran in Swedish demonstration

Salwan Momika, a refugee from Iraq who has been publicly critical of Islam, filmed himself on Sunday burning pages of the Quran and shared the footage on his X account.

“During every demonstration I hold, I light my cigarette with a leaf of the Qur’an. They are angry,” Momika published with footage of the burning. 

In another post, Momika revealed police detained a man from trying to approach him. “Someone tried to sneak towards me, but the police did the job,” he commented. 

Footage of the incident showed two officers on the floor with a man in a space sectioned off by tape. Surrounding the incident were crowds yelling.

An Iranian protester holds the Quran in his hand during a protest to denounce the recent desecration of the Quran by far-right activists in Sweden, in Tehran, Iran, January 27, 2023. (credit: Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters)

In a later social media post, assumedly related to his demonstration, Momika wrote “My battle with Islam is a moral human battle, a battle of civilization and existence, a battle of good against evil, a battle of knowledge against ignorance.”

Momika claimed that Sweden had withdrawn his political asylum status and that he would be returned to Iraq where he faced torture and execution. He stated that his protests were carried out within Swedish law and with the consent and knowledge of Swedish authorities. He also accused that Iraq, Sweden, and Turkey had come to a secret agreement in exchange for his return and that bribes had potentially been involved in Sweden’s decision to revoke his asylum status. 

In addition to burning the Quran, Momika’s social media profile includes images of the Israeli flag. Normalization between Iraqis and Israel is forbidden by Iraqi law.

Sweden raises terror alerts

In August, Sweden raised its terrorism alert to the second-highest level and warned of an increase in threats against Swedes at home and abroad after Quran burnings outraged Muslims and triggered threats from jihadists.

The police denied several applications earlier this year for protests that were set to include burning the Quran, citing security concerns, but courts have since overturned the police’s decisions, saying such acts are protected by Sweden’s far-reaching freedom of speech laws.