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What’s known about the burning of the Quran in Sweden?

Selwan Momika jpg What's known about the burning of the Quran in Sweden?

The world’s most democratic country has recently witnessed interesting developments. The number of people who believe in Islam worldwide is known to be 2 million, and the events in Sweden have saddened 2 million Muslims.

Question about burning Quran

  • So, what is the incident of burning the Quran, the holy book of Islam, in Sweden?
  • Why did Sweden allow Quran burning?
  • Who are the individuals burning the Quran in Sweden?
  • What are the goals of Quran burning in Sweden?
  • What do we know about the process of Quran burning in Sweden?

Everything started with Rasmus Paludan

Everything started with the announcement of Rasmus Paludan, the protector of the Danish far-right political party Stram Kurs, that he would burn the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Sweden.

Following Paludan’s announcement, which caused a sensation in the Islamic world, Rasmus Paludan carried out the Quran burning action on Saturday, January 21, 2023.

Paludan’s action sparked significant reactions in Turkey and worldwide. Protests were held in front of the Swedish Consulate in Istanbul, and the UN condemned Paludan’s action.

The Swedish Prime Minister: Disrespectful behavior

The Prime Minister of Sweden condemned the action.

The Prime Minister of Sweden, referring to the incident as a “disrespectful behavior,” condemned the action. Moreover, due to his involvement in another Quran burning incident, the individual responsible for the action was banned from entering Sweden.

While the country, which prides itself on democracy, faced the reactions of Muslims, it also had to deal with those who supported Rasmus Paludan’s action. This ban led to protests in Sweden involving far-right groups

Either NATO or Democracy culture!

Immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden sought protection by applying to NATO. The biggest obstacle to NATO membership for Sweden was Turkey, where the Muslim population is high.

While Sweden was trying to maintain good relations with Turkey, the Quran burning action received the most significant reaction from Turkey.

As the NATO negotiations approached, in February, two individuals, Salwan Momika of Iraqi origin and Chris Makoundout of African origin, planned to burn the Quran in Sweden.

Salwan Momika, of Iraqi origin, wanted to burn the Quran in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm, and Chris Makoundout, of African origin, wanted to do the same in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm. However, the police did not permit these actions for security reasons.

Subsequently, the two individuals in question appealed to the court against the police’s decision.

The Administrative Court of Sweden argued that the security concerns of the police were not sufficient to restrict the right to demonstrate and canceled the police’s decision on April 4. Afterward, the Stockholm police appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court upheld the Administrative Court’s decision and lifted the ban on Quran burning on June 12.

The court allows the burning of the Quran

Judge Eva-Lotta Hedin, referring to the planned protests in front of the Turkish and Iraqi embassies in Stockholm, stated that “there was not enough supporting evidence for the police’s decision.”

Respecting the court’s decision, the Swedish police allowed the burning and tearing of the Quran. One of the organizers of the action, 37-year-old Selwan Momika, an Iraqi-born Swedish citizen, tore pages from the Quran, spat on them, put them in his shoes along with pork sausages, and set them on fire under police protection on June 28.

During a period when negotiations for Sweden’s NATO membership were ongoing and two weeks before the NATO leaders’ summit, Turkey reacted strongly to the action.

So, who is Selwan Momika?

His real name is Selwan Sebah Matthew Momika, born on June 23, 1986, in Hemdaniye, Ninawa, where Christians constitute the majority.

IMG 20230630 050441 jpg What's known about the burning of the Quran in Sweden?
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Describing himself as a “writer,intellectual, and human rights activist,” Momika, although originally Christian, stated on a television channel in 2019 that he has been an atheist since then.

He has been involved in Aramean-Syriac political and armed movements in Iraq and founded an illegal armed organization called the Syriac Falcons Battalion. He also founded the Syriac Democratic Union Party in Sweden.

Mahmut Khalfi, the imam of Stockholm Mosque: The provocation deeply saddens Muslims.

Mahmut Khalfi, the President of the Stockholm Mosque Association, expressed that the provocation deeply saddens Muslims. Khalfi stated that Muslim members called and expressed their deep concern, stating that they do not feel safe due to the disrespect towards their sacred values.

US: Disrespectful and offensive

During the daily press briefing of the US Department of State, Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel was asked about the events in Stockholm. Patel stated, “We have repeatedly emphasized that burning and desecrating religious texts are disrespectful and offensive. Just because something may be legal does not mean it is always appropriate.”

Barzani: Burning the Quran cannot be considered as freedom of thought

Masoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Region, where Muslims, Syriacs, and Christians live with mutual respect in Iraq, released a message regarding the burning of the Quran.

Masoud Barzani jpg What's known about the burning of the Quran in Sweden?
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Barzani, stating that the burning of the Quran cannot be considered within the framework of freedom of speech and that there can be no justification for this act, said: “Burning the Quran illegitimately cannot be evaluated as freedom of speech, and this act cannot have any justification. This action has hurt all Muslims around the world. We strongly condemn it. Such actions not only undermine unity and coexistence but also contribute to the spread of darkness and hatred.”

Erdoğan: We will demonstrate our reaction

The most anticipated statement came from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His decision will be crucial for Sweden’s NATO membership. Erdogan stated in his statement: “The hearts of 2 billion Muslims find tranquility in the same spiritual atmosphere. Islam and humanity’s enemies are trying to cast a shadow over this atmosphere. The attack on our sacred book, the Quran, on the first day of Eid, is one of these acts. Those who turn a blind eye to this lowliness will not succeed in their ambitions. We will not succumb to provocation and threats. We will express our reaction until the fight against Islamophobia is resolutely carried out.”

Selwan Momika
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As can be understood from Erdogan’s statement, the Quran burning action has temporarily halted Sweden’s desired NATO membership.

The Swedish police have initiated an investigation into Salwan Momika, who burned the Quran in front of a mosque in Stockholm.

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