Rejecting the act of an atheist “Christian” refugee, church leaders escape the ire of protests in Iraq and Pakistan.
Following the burning of the Quran in Sweden last month, Christians in the Muslim world have been vocal in their condemnation.
But some expressions of disapproval may have been forced upon them.
“Christian religious figures … [must] state their positions regarding this explicit crime,” stated the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq. “Their silence puts them in a position of refraining from criminalizing and condemning it.”
The Sunni-based group had plenty of reasons to be offended. The stunt occurred in front of the Grand Mosque of Stockholm on the first day of Eid al-Adha, one of two primary Muslim holidays. And prior to being lit on fire, the Quran was kicked about and stuffed with bacon—provocation against Islam’s prohibition of pork.
But the greatest Iraqi ire may have been that the culprit was one of their own—and a Christian. Salwan Momika, a 37-year-old father of two, sought refuge in Sweden sometime after 2017. But his checkered history had many Middle East Christians criticizing him as well.
In fact, he is an atheist.
His Instagram post announcing his act declared his lack of faith in anything save secular liberalism. Citing the protest as an act of democracy in defense of freedom of speech, he also asked for financial support. And it is reported that upon arrival in Sweden, he volunteered for a far-right party known for its opposition to Muslim migrants.
But earlier, he worked for Shiites.
Momika professed admiration for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), who was killed with Iran’s Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in 2020. Under the PMF’s command he enrolled with Christian compatriots in “The …