Irrespective of the outraged international reactions to the burning of the Koran in Stockholm, the Iraqi responsible for this has announced that he will burn another copy of the Koran. Salwan Momika told the Expressen newspaper on Thursday that he knew his action would provoke reactions. Nevertheless, he is planning further actions and will “burn the Iraqi flag and the Koran in front of the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm within ten days”.
Momika, an Iraqi who fled to Sweden, kicked the Koran several times in front of around a hundred onlookers and journalists in front of the Great Mosque in Stockholm on Wednesday, the first day of the Islamic festival of sacrifice Eid al-Adha, while waving the Swedish flag. He then stuck strips of ham, which Muslims consider unclean, into the book and burned a few pages from it.
The 37-year-old had previously received approval from the Swedish authorities for his protest action. Among other things, he justified his request with freedom of expression. In the meantime, however, the police have launched an investigation into “incitement against an ethnic group” because he carried out the burning so close to the mosque. However, Momika denied that his actions amounted to a “hate crime” or “incitement against a group”. The action triggered violent protests in the Muslim world.
In January, right-wing demonstrators in Stockholm burned a Koran in front of the Turkish embassy, triggering angry reactions in the Islamic world. Even then, the burning of the Koran led to a hardening of Turkish resistance to Sweden’s NATO accession.
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