Who is Salwan Momika, the Iraqi with a troubled past who burns the Koran and provokes the ire of the Muslim world?

This Thursday at 2 p.m., Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old Iraqi refugee, repeatedly trampled on the Koran outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm. The man finally gave up burning the sacred text of Islam, as he had announced a few weeks ago. A gesture that arouses the anger of Muslim countries, which already denounced in June an “irresponsible” and “racist” act. On June 28, the man had already set fire to a few pages of a copy of the Koran in front of the largest mosque in Stockholm on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, a holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world. 20 minutes comes back to the recent events which provoked the ire of the Iraqis.

Who is Salwan Momika?

Salwan Momika is a 37-year-old Iraqi who fled his country for Sweden. According to the France 24 observers, Salwan Momika has a long resume. Arrived in Sweden in April 2018, he obtained refugee status in April 2021. Living in Järna, south of the Swedish capital, the man is very active on social networks.

On Facebook, he describes himself as a “thinker and writer, a free atheist who does not belong”, “there are no limits to my ideas and my pen, I invite everyone to investigate, reflect and doubt”, he also writes.

According to the same media, the man would be a leader of a Christian core within the Imam Ali Brigades, an Iraqi militia close to Tehran created in 2014 and accused of war crimes. The man would have been at the head of the paramilitaries on the outskirts of Mosul in 2017, when he fought Daesh. When he arrived in Sweden, Salwan Momika joined forces with Sweden’s far-right Democrats of Sweden party.

The first auto-da-fé trigger

On June 28, on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, Salwan Momika had trampled on the Koran several times before slipping slices of bacon into it and burning a few pages in front of the largest mosque in Stockholm in a “gathering” authorized by Swedish justice.

Salwan Momika’s gesture in Stockholm then provoked a volley of international condemnations. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan immediately condemned the incident on Twitter: “It is unacceptable to allow these anti-Islamic actions under the pretext of freedom of expression. Washington had joined in the criticism, while saying it supported Sweden’s NATO membership “as soon as possible”. “We have always said that burning religious texts is disrespectful and offensive,” State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters. Morocco for its part denounced an “offensive and irresponsible” act, and recalled its ambassador to Sweden, according to an official press release published overnight from Wednesday to Thursday.

On June 11, the UN qualified the burning of the Koran as an “offensive” act. Speaking by videoconference, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal ben Farhane said for his part that freedom of expression “should spread peaceful coexistence rather than cause a clash of civilizations”. Speaking on behalf of the OIC, Pakistani Ambassador Khalil Hashmi stressed that the public desecration of the Koran has nothing to do with freedom of expression but is “an affront to human dignity”. Many demonstrations had broken out in Iraq and Pakistan in particular.

The auto-da-fe volume II

But Salwan Momika did not stop at this act. “Within ten days, I will burn the Iraqi flag and the Koran in front of the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm”, warned Salwan Momika the day after his first book burning, to the Swedish daily. Expressen. He said he was aware of the impact of his gesture and had already received “thousands of death threats”. Faced with this, a demonstration organized by supporters of the religious leader Moqtada Sadr was organized this Thursday in Iraq before dawn during which the Swedish embassy in Baghdad was set on fire. “What happened is totally unacceptable,” said Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström in response to this act.

Before the demonstration in Stockholm, the Iraqi Prime Minister ordered the expulsion of the Swedish ambassador to Baghdad.

source site