Sweden puts deportation of Quran-burning protester to Iran on hold

Sweden reportedly withdrew the residence permit of Salwan Momika who staged a series of public desecrations of the Quran this year but put his deportation on hold, saying his life would be in danger if he were returned to Iraq. Photo by Oscar Olsson/TT via AP, file.

Sweden’s Migration Agency has issued a deportation of Quran-burning protester Salwan Momika, Iraqi national, claiming he had provided false information in his application for asylum, but has put the order on hold for now, citing humanitarian and security reasons.

“This person risks being subjected to torture and inhuman treatment if he returns to his home country. We have therefore decided that there is an obstacle to enforcing the deportation,” agency spokesman Jesper Tengroth was quoted as saying. Though, no further details on what information in the asylum application was false, was given.

Swedish authorities allowed Momika’s public demonstrations toward Islam, quoting freedom of speech, but his actions raised alarm among government and security officials who warned they could make Sweden a target for Islamic extremists. Swedish police also filed preliminary hate speech charges against him, reported AP News.

Momika told Swedish broadcaster TV4 that he didn’t want to put Sweden at risk but was exercising his right for freedom of speech.

“They want me to leave the country,” Momika was quoted as saying. “They told me to find a country that can receive me; otherwise it’s Iraq.”

He said he would appeal the decision to withdraw his residence permit, adding he had no plans to leave Sweden. In his defense, he also denied having given false information in his asylum application.

Earlier this year, Momika’s actions have raised controversies among Muslim countries around the world including Indonesia and Malaysia.

At present, there have not any relevant comments from Indonesia and Malaysia following Sweden’s recent decision in postponing the deportation of the Iraqi man when checked both countries’ major media. However, the two Muslim countries condemned the Quran burning actions in Sweden.

Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi said back in August that freedom of expression should not give people a free pass to discriminate against others.

While Malaysian Foreign Minister Wisma Putra said in June:

“The desecration of the holy book, while Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid Al-Adha, is nothing more than an insult to Muslims worldwide and violates the universal principle of respect and understanding towards all religions and their holy scriptures,…”

On behalf of Malaysia, he urged Swedish government to take immediate action against the perpetrators of this brutal crime and take serious steps to combat the growing Islamophobic sentiment in the Nordic country.


About Kanlayakorn Pengrattana

Kanlayakorn 'Princess' Pengrattana is a freelance writer at ScandAsia.

View all posts by Kanlayakorn Pengrattana

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *