Jihadi Reactions To Quran Burning In Stockholm: Condemnation, Calls To Execute Perpetrator, Expel Swedish Ambassadors, Carry Out Attacks Inspired By 2015 'Charlie Hebdo' Shooting

June 29, 2023

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On June 28, 2023, Salwan Momika, an Iraqi refugee in Sweden, tore and burned a copy of the Quran in front of Stockholm's central mosque on the Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Adha. The incident drew condemnation from Muslim-majority countries as well as Salafi jihadis and Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.

Previously, on January 21, 2023, Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish politician and leader of the Danish Stram Kurs party, burned a copy of the Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm. The following day, Edwin Wagenfeld, Dutch leader of the far-right group, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), carried out a similar act near the Dutch Parliament, ripping pages out of a copy of the Quran and stomping on them.[1]

Below, MEMRI JTTM compiled a sampling of the latest reactions from jihadis in Syria, Al-Qaeda supporters, and Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.

Lebanese Hizbullah: Swedish Authorities "Complicit In This Crime"

On June 29, Iran-backed Lebanese Hizbullah condemned Momika's burning of the Quran, holding the Swedish authorities responsible and "complicit in this crime" for allegedly having prior knowledge of the protesters' intentions. Hizbullah also called on Arab and Islamic governments and religious institutions to take all appropriate measures to force governments like that of Sweden to prevent such "idiocies" from occurring again in their countries.

"The repeated desecration of the Holy Quran in this country [Sweden] and elsewhere cannot be tolerated. The Swedish government must stop this adverse regressive path instead of hiding behind the 'freedom of expression' and other flowery slogans." The statement concluded.[2]

A screenshot of a computerDescription automatically generated with low confidence

Yemen's Ansar Allah (Houthis): Muslim Failure To "Disavow Enemies Of Allah" Enabled Israel And The West "To Dare Desecrate The Sanctities Of Islam"

On June 29, Yemen's Iran-backed Ansar Allah Movement (the Houthis) called Sweden's decision to allow a protest to burn the Quran an act of aggression against Muslim sanctities, and a crime performed by the "Zionist lobby that controls Europe."

In a statement, the political office of Ansar Allah said: "The burning of the Holy Quran coincided with Muslims' pilgrimage ritual, during which Muslims endeavor to disavow the enemies of Allah. Had ummah  adopted measures to disavow them, the Zionists and the infidel West would not have dared desecrate the sanctities of Islam."

Ansar Allah said that turning a blind eye to such violations is a "great crime" and "perilous negligence," and called on Islamic countries to sever diplomatic ties with Sweden, while urging Muslim masses to boycott Swedish, U.S., and Israeli goods.[3]

On June 28, Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi Ansar Allah movement's political council, published a post on his Telegram channel calling the incident a "repeated, barbaric act," and urged Arab and Islamic governments to expel Sweden's ambassadors.[4]

Iraqi Telegram Channel Plans Protest In Baghdad On June 30

Hours following the Quran-burning incident, an Iraqi Telegram channel which was created following the Quran-burning incident in January 2023 called for a protest in front of the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad, planned for June 30, 2023 at 5:00 PM local time. The movement called on the Iraqi government to expel the embassy's employees and to close the embassy building. The calls were shared by several outlets supporting Iran-backed militias in Iraq.[5]

Head Of Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haqq Endorses Rally To Expel Swedish Ambassador

On June 29, Qais Al-Khaz'ali, the head of the Iraqi Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haqq militia, released a statement arguing that the burning of the Quran is proof of the "falsity" of the West's claims about freedom of religious belief and rejection of hate speech. Recent Quran burnings, he contended, are a clear message about "Western hostility toward Islam and its book, under the watchful eyes, support, and security protection by authorities."

Al-Khaz'ali expressed full support for the June 30 protest outside the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad "to expel the Swedish Ambassador."[6]

Iran-backed Iraqi militia Sayyid Al-Shuhada Brigades issued a statement on June 29 condemning the burning of the Quran. It incited the "masses of the resistance" to show up in droves in the "protest of anger" outside the Swedish Embassy, "to champion the religion and express rejection of the aggressive and hateful approach adopted by the West against the sanctities of Muslims."[7]

In clear incitement against the perpetrator of the Quran-burning incident, Salwan Momika, a Telegram channel affiliated with Iran-backed militias in Iraq posted the alleged phone number and Telegram account of Momika.[8]

Sabereen news, a media outlet affiliated with Iran-backed militias in Iraq, shared a series of photos and videos on June 29 of "angry Iraqis," who, it claimed, stormed the Swedish Embassy building, and removed the Swedish flag, instead raising a flag symbolizing the reappearance of the Shi'ite Imam Al-Mahdi, who according to Shi'ite belief "will bring justice to the world in the end of time."[9]

Caption: "The Holy Quran is a red line."

Channel Decries Swedish Authorities' "Hypocrisy" By Allowing The Burning Of Quran, And "Preventing The Burning Of Torah Outside Israel's Embassy"

 A Telegram Channel which identifies itself as a "Project/resource documenting and visualizing oppression against Muslims worldwide," including those detained on terror charges, published a poster featuring side-by-side news reports highlighting Swedish authorities' "hypocritical" approach to protests. DOAM decried an alleged double-standard, which, it argued, allowed the burning of the Quran in front of a mosque, but "stopped the burning of a copy of the Torah outside Israel's Embassy in Stockholm."[10]

Prolific HTS Supporter: Perpetrator Was Leader Of Iraqi Christian Mobilization, Must Be "Prosecuted And Executed"

Speaking over a video of the incident, a Telegram channel supportive of Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) called for the prosecution and execution of the perpetrator of the burning of the Quran. The channel contended that Momika used to lead the Christian Popular Mobilization, which it claimed killed thousands of Iraqi Sunnis, before immigrating to Sweden as a refugee.[11]

Al-Qaeda Supporter Reiterates Bin Laden's Call For Violent "Retaliatory" Acts, Suggests Repeating 2015 Charlie Hebdo Attack

A user on the Al-Qaeda-operated Rocket.Chat server published a poster on June 29 featuring the infamous threat to the West by slain Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden: "If your freedom of speech has no restriction, let your chests accommodate the freedom of our deeds." Also featured were photos of the brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, perpetrators of the 2015 attack by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) against the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.[12]

HTS Religious Official: Incident Proves Islam's Opponents Are "Helpless" As Islam Expands

Tunisian-born HTS religious official 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Idrisi wrote on Telegram that the incident is an "indication of the severity of the crisis" experienced by the opponents of Islam, arguing that this shows their animosity toward Islam's ongoing expansion, as the West is helpless in facing such growth.[13]


[2] June 29, 2023.

[3] Telegram, June 29, 2023.

[4] Telegram, June 28, 2023.

[5] Telegram, June 28, 2023.

[6] Twitter, June 29, 2023.

[7] Telegram, June 29, 2023.

[8] Telegram, June 29, 2023.

[9] Telegram, June 29, 2023.

[10] Telegram, June 29, 2023.

[11] Telegram, June 29, 2023.

[12] June 29, 2023.

[13] Telegram, June 29, 2023.

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