New Quran burning outside Stockholm parliament as Muslim leaders meet

TT/AFP/The Local
TT/AFP/The Local - [email protected]
New Quran burning outside Stockholm parliament as Muslim leaders meet
Salwan Momika and Salwan Najem set fire to a copy of the Quran with a lighter in the Mynttorget square outside Sweden's parliament. Photo: Oscar Olsson/TT

Two men set the Quran alight outside parliament in Stockholm on Monday at a protest similar to previous ones that have sparked tensions between Sweden and Middle Eastern countries.


Salwan Momika and Salwan Najem kicked and stomped on the Muslim holy book, then set its pages on fire before slamming it shut, as they had done at a protest outside Stockholm's main mosque in late June -- sparking outrage and condemnation across the Middle East.

According to the TT newswire, the two were watched by 15 counter-demonstrators who shouted at the two protestors, as they trampled on the book and on pictures of Muslim leaders. 

"Fucking loser," one passer-by shouted as the protest took place. 


Najem, 48, accompanied the activist Salwan Momika during the Quran burning protests Momika carried out outside a Stockholm mosque and outside the Iraqi embassy earlier this summer, filming his protests and posting them on social media. 

Najem told the Expressen newspaper that he believed he was within his rights to burn the book.

"I'm going to carry on burning this until they ban the Quran," he said. "What's illegal about it? It's just a bit of paper. Do you know how many threats we have received? Just because of a bit of paper." 

The protest, on the Mynttorget Square that is a traditional site for political protests in Sweden, took place at around the same time as the leaders of 57 Muslim countries were due to meet digitally to discuss how to react to the ongoing Quran-burning protests held in Sweden and Denmark. 

As at earlier protests, Momika and Najem were the only participants, with a small group of counter-protesters gathering outside the police cordon, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

Mats Eriksson, a spokesman for the Stockholm police told AFP that the event "had been conducted without any serious public order disturbances".

During the protest Momika also stomped on a picture of Shiite Muslim cleric and political leader Moqtada Sadr -- whose followers had stormed Sweden's embassy in Baghdad in response to previous desecrations. 

'All for attention'

"We saw him standing there again and yelling stuff about the Quran and about Islam, playing with the Quran, and honestly it's all for attention and it's pretty obvious," Tamazight El Yaakoubi, a Muslim 18-year-old law student from the Netherlands on a visit to Sweden, told AFP.

"Before we came here we were pretty scared, we were like, Quran burned down, why?"

"But when we came here almost everyone is full of love and everyone is very respectful."


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

ML 2023/08/01 09:39
It's being burned purely for a reaction most likely, and these guys are getting the exact kind of reaction they wanted and expected. The Islamic world needs to do the opposite of what it's doing now. It's going to stoke Islamophobia, not fix it. Encouraging governments to make burning of the Quran illegal is imposing Islamic law, which is a problem in and of itself.

See Also