Sweden orders Iraqi Quran burner to leave country

Sweden orders Iraqi Quran burner to leave country
Sweden orders Iraqi Quran burner to leave country

By: Anadolu Agency

The Swedish Migration Court has confirmed that an Iraqi man who staged a series of public Quran burnings last year will be deported, local media reported Wednesday. 

Immigration authorities refused to extend Salwan Momika’s residence permit last October, but the order for his departure was delayed for security reasons, according to Swedish broadcaster TV4.

Momika, an Iraqi citizen, appealed the decision, but his appeal was rejected by the judges, another local broadcaster, SVT Nyhter, reported.

The ruling came after it was determined that Momika had provided false information in his application for asylum, which he denies doing, according to the broadcaster.

When immigration authorities decided last November that his residence permit would not be extended due to his conflicting accounts on why he needs protection, Momika told SVT Nyheter that he did not intend to leave Sweden.

“I am not leaving Sweden. I will live and die in Sweden,” he said, accusing officials of having hidden political agenda.

The court concluded that Momika’s deportation to Iraq could not be enforced immediately as he risks being persecuted in his home country.

“The deportation decision cannot be enforced to Iraq as long as he risks persecution or other protection-based treatment there,” Chief Councilor Karin Dahlin said in a press release.

According to the decision, the judges decided to grant Momika a temporary residence permit which is due to expire on April 16, media outlet Expressen reported.

In addition to the expulsion, Momika is banned from returning to Sweden for five years and is no longer eligible for international protection as he is considered to have committed a serious crime.

The Iraqi man of Christian faith was initially granted a residence permit in 2021 and has since become known for publicly desecrating the Muslim holy book on multiple occasions in the Nordic country.

The Quran burnings in Sweden, as well as in neighboring Denmark by different individuals, under the pretext of free speech have sparked angry protests in Muslim countries, including attacks on diplomatic missions.

Following the outcry, Denmark adopted a law last December making it illegal to burn copies of the Quran in public places, with the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) calling on its member states to take appropriate political and economic measures against Sweden, Denmark, and other nations where burning the Muslim holy book is not banned.

The OIC warned that it is necessary to put a stop on such acts, characterized as “aggression that spreads hatred and contempt for religions and threatens global peace, security and harmony.”

Sweden, however, is still considering its legal options that would enable police to reject permits for demonstrations over national security concerns.

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