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Sweden deports Iraqi national Salwan Momika for Quran desecration

Friday February 9, 2024

Salwan Momika, 37, stomped on the Quran and set several pages alight in front of Stockholm's largest mosque.  [JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty]

Stockholm (HOL) - Sweden's Migration Court has confirmed the deportation of Iraqi national Salwan Momika, whose Quran desecration last year led to widespread international condemnation and diplomatic strains. The court found that Momika, who sought refuge in Sweden in 2018, misled authorities in his asylum application, a key factor in the decision to deny the extension of his residence permit.

Momika, a 37-year-old Christian from Iraq, catapulted to global infamy in June 2023 following his highly publicized Quran desecration in Stockholm. His actions, safeguarded by police under Sweden's staunch free speech laws during Eid al-Adha, elicited strong condemnation from Muslim communities worldwide and intensified calls for his deportation.

The diplomatic fallout from Momika's Quran-burning episodes was immediate and far-reaching, with countries like Turkey threatening Sweden's NATO accession and other Islamic nations demanding stern action against him. 

The court's verdict was influenced by findings that Momika provided misleading information in his asylum application, contributing to the refusal to extend his residence permit. It is unclear if the court considered his past as a militia leader. Prior to seeking asylum in Sweden in 2018, Momika had associations with the Imam Ali Brigades, a militia linked to Iran, and later initiated the Syriac Democratic Union party. 

Allegations of Momika's participation in sectarian violence have raised questions about Sweden's initial decision to grant him refugee status in 2021, despite his controversial actions.

Momika's deportation also prompted a review of Sweden's asylum and deportation procedures for individuals capable of inciting violence and discord. 



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