Swedish migration agency re-examines residency permit of Quran burner

A poster depicting the Swedish flag lies on the ground, as Pakistani Shi'ite Muslim supporters of Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) protest to denounce the desecration of Quran outside a mosque in the Swedish capital Stockholm, in Karachi, Pakistan on 2 July 2023.

The Swedish migration agency said late on Friday it is re-examining the residency permit of an Iraqi refugee who is behind several Quran desecrations in Stockholm in recent weeks, which have upset Muslims across the world.

The man burnt a copy of the Quran last month outside of Stockholm's central mosque and also held a demonstration in front of the Iraqi embassy in July where he said he would burn the holy book, but did not do so.

The migration agency said it is re-examining his immigration status, after it received information from the Swedish authorities that have given reason to examine whether the man's status in Sweden should be revoked.

"It is a statutory measure that is taken when the Swedish migration agency receives such information and it is too early to say anything about the outcome of the case," a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement to Reuters, adding it was unable to comment further due to confidentiality.

According to the Swedish news agency TT, the man has a temporary residency permit in Sweden that is set to expire in 2024.

Sweden has found itself in the international spotlight in recent weeks following protests where the Quran, the Muslim holy book, has been damaged and burned.

Attacks on the Quran in Sweden and Denmark in the past weeks have offended many Muslim countries including Turkey, whose backing Sweden needs to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a goal of Stockholm's after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Stockholm police have also received applications for demonstrations that included burning other religious books such as the Christian and the Hebrew Bible, prompting many to criticise Sweden.

Swedish courts have ruled that police cannot stop burnings of holy scriptures, but prime minister Ulf Kristersson's government said earlier in July it would examine if there was reason to change the Public Order Act to make it possible for police to stop Quran burnings.

The man in question was not immediately available for comment.