Several arrests after a new Koran burned

Swedish police arrested more than ten people on Sunday after scenes of violence in Malmö (south) following a rally during which a copy of the Koran was once again burned. Sunday’s rally, organized by Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika, instigated by similar events that angered the Muslim world, took place in a square in Malmö, home to a large immigrant population.

According to the public television channel SVT, some 200 people came to watch the scene. “Spectators showed their emotion after the organizer burned the writings,” police said in a statement. “The atmosphere was stormy,” continued the police, adding that “violent riots” broke out at 1:45 p.m.

A dozen arrests

According to the police, the rally ended after the organizer left, but a group of people remained behind. A dozen people were arrested for disturbing public order and two others arrested on suspicion of having participated in violent riots. According to the media, spectators threw stones at Salwan Momika. A video shows protesters trying to break the police cordon before being stopped by the latter.

Another video shows a man trying to stop the police vehicle carrying Salwan Momika to take him away from the scene. At the end of July, Salwan Momika, 37, and another man, Salwan Naja, had trampled on a copy of the Koran in Stockholm before setting it on fire, as they had done at previous rallies which had caused diplomatic tensions between Sweden and countries in the Middle East.


The Swedish government has condemned the desecrations of the Koran while stressing that the Constitution of Sweden protects the right of assembly and freedom of expression. Iraqi protesters twice attacked the Swedish embassy in Baghdad in July, sparking a fire inside the diplomatic mission in the second assault.

In mid-August, the Swedish Security Service announced that it had raised the terrorist alert level to 4 on a scale of 5, the strong reactions aroused abroad by the desecrations of the Koran on Swedish soil making the country a “priority target”. In early August, Sweden also decided to tighten border controls. Neighboring Denmark, where public desecrations of the Koran have also taken place, has announced plans to ban burnings of the holy book of Muslims. Sweden is considering legal ways to do this too.

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