Sweden Quran burner Salwan Momika arrested in Norway, faces deportation

Sweden Quran burner Salwan Momika arrested in Norway, faces deportation
Salwan Momika, who caused widespread controversy by burning the Islamic holy book, left Sweden last week hoping to seek asylum in Norway.
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Salwan Momika holds up the Muslim holy book and a sheet of paper showing the flag of Iraq during a protest outside the Iraqi Embassy in Stockholm in 2023 [GETTY]

An Iraqi refugee in Sweden who stoked international outrage by repeatedly desecrating the Quran last year has been arrested in Norway and now faces deportation back to Sweden, according to court documents viewed by AFP Thursday.

Salwan Momika, a Christian Iraqi who burned Korans at a slew of protests in Sweden over the summer, told AFP last week that he had left Sweden for Norway, where he planned to seek asylum.

According to a ruling by the Oslo District Court, Momika was arrested on March 28 -- a day after he arrived.

After a hearing on March 30, the court decided to detain Momika for four weeks, awaiting a likely request from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) to Sweden that he is returned, in accordance with EU legislation.

In the court's ruling it said "a deportation will take place as soon as the formal and practical arrangements are in place."

Police had requested that he would be detained in the meantime, citing the country's migration law when it can be assumed that a foreign national will attempt to evade the implementation of a decision for him to leave the country.

Momika's Quran burnings sparked widespread outrage and condemnation in Muslim countries.

Iraqi protesters stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad twice in July, starting fires within the compound on the second occasion.

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The Swedish government condemned the desecrations of the Quran but stressed the country's laws regarding freedom of speech and assembly.

Sweden's intelligence agency heightened its terror alert level in mid-August to four on a scale of five after the angry reactions made the country a "prioritised target".

The Swedish Migration Agency revoked Momika's residency permit in October, citing false information in his original application, but he was granted a temporary one as it said there was an "impediment to enforcement" of a deportation to Iraq.

The month before, Iraq had requested his extradition over one of the Quran burnings.