Sweden: Quran desecrator won’t be expelled despite deportation order

Salwan Momika, Sweden

Sweden’s migration agency has said that notorious Quran desecrator Salwan Momika will not be deported from the country despite a ruling that he should be because he would “risk torture” in his home country, Iraq.

The agency made the decision last week after determining that Momika, who sparked widespread demonstrations around the Muslim world with his actions, had provided false information in his application for asylum.

An order of deportation was issued but placed on hold for security reasons, a Migration Agency official told Swedish reporters on Thursday. Swedish media say Momika was granted a residence permit in 2021.

Agency spokesman Jesper Tengroth was quoted as saying: “The decision was made yesterday and means that this person’s status and residence permit will be revoked and that he will be deported.”

Salwan Momika rose to notoriety as an Islamophobic preacher in 2023 after spearheading an anti-Islam campaign involving regular Quran burnings outside mosques, Muslim world embassies and Muslim-populated areas across Sweden.

The protests led to a massive eruption in angry demonstrations across the Islamic world as protesters condemned Swedish authorities for providing police protection to the offensive acts of Momika.

Momika reportedly plans to appeal the agency’s decision.

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Momika told Swedish public broadcaster SVT: “I am not leaving Sweden. I will live and die in Sweden. The Swedish Migration Agency has made a serious mistake. I suspect there are hidden political motives behind this decision. I will appeal.”

Speaking to 5Pillars, Swedish Muslim activist, Faris Ali, explained how Momika seemingly exposed himself through his own actions.

A protest against Quran burning in Sweden.
Editorial credit: Loredana Sangiuliano / Shutterstock.com

“Well, I’m not surprised at all that the Swedish migration board took this decision. Anything else would have been surprising due to the fact that Momika has lied in his application about being persecuted in Iraq while visiting it at least once in 2022 and participating in the riots outside the Iraqi parliament.

“Actually, that came to the migration agency knowledge thanks to his own work – nobody knew about him until he started burning the Quran and it was just after that the information from Iraq came out with pictures of him participating in riots.”

Mr Ali added his additional frustration over Stockholm’s defense of Quran desecrations under the argument of free speech.

“Personally, I don’t care about Momika, probably he is in need of medical treatment rather than anything else given how he has been. What I would prefer is to see Sweden forbidding all Quran burnings and not focusing on Momika. Before him it was Paludan. It is an act that should be forbidden and dealt with. Sweden may be doing this (deporting Momika) to avoid changing laws and hope that the questions die out.”

Scandinavia has become a hot spot for anti-Islam hate speech as several far-right activists have engaged in similar acts of Islamophobia. Under intense Muslim pressure, Denmark announced plans to introduce new legislation to protect religious scriptures from public desecration. Sweden has faced similar pressure, almost losing out on a bid to join the Western military alliance NATO due to protests from Ankara.

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