During a live broadcast, Salwan Momika, an Islamic critic and Koran-burner who has attracted mass media attention, was apparently attacked and beaten by an unknown man wearing boxing gloves. The “boxer” now claims that the fight was prearranged and that Momika is lying about the incident.
The video clip, in which Momika is said to have been in Södertälje to “buy food and supplies” and is suddenly attacked by a man with an immigrant background wearing gym clothes and boxing gloves, has been widely circulated on social media and identified as one of several attacks on freedom of expression in Sweden.
— salle (@ROGSAHL) August 21, 2023
According to the Koran burner’s own statement to the Bonnier newspaper Expressen, “a Muslim person came and attacked me and beat me and promised to kill me and I am now in the hospital with an eye and head injury.” The police also confirm that they received a call at the time from someone who said he had been attacked and had non-serious injuries.
Now, however, the boxer himself says that the whole “attack” was prearranged and that he agreed with Salwan Momika to fight in front of the camera, but that he soon got tired, writes Expressen, referring to an Arabic-language clip on TikTok that the man published.
“It’s a lie and slander. I don’t know who he is and I’ve never spoken to him”, Momika claims in a comment.
His own explanation for capturing the incident on film is that “every act or abuse I have been subjected to is documented and that is exactly what happened.” He also admits to earning money from his live broadcasts.
Apart from a blow to the arm, the video does not show any abuse, but it is also unclear what happened before the cameraman started filming.
Wants to burn the Koran – 12 more times
In recent weeks, Salwan Momika has submitted twelve new applications to burn the Koran in Stockholm, Malmö and Örebro. The requests have not yet been approved, but are expected to be granted as Sweden has no blasphemy laws.
– He has freedom of expression. He is using it, said Gunnar Strömmer (M), but argued that Momika’s actions “pose a serious threat to the safety of citizens”.
Accused of being a foreign agent
Iran has accused Momika of being recruited by the Israeli security service Mossad and that the desecration of the Koran was a deliberate influence operation.
Momika was granted a three-year residence permit in Sweden in April 2021 and is not currently a Swedish citizen. His actions have attracted widespread international attention and have caused serious diplomatic complications for Sweden, in addition to the strong offense it has caused in the Muslim world.
According to him, the goal is to create an opinion in favor of banning the Koran. In practice, however, the result indicates a growing antipathy toward his actions and that the ground is being prepared for the introduction of new restrictions on freedom of expression.