The Qur’an Burnings of SIAN

Far-Right Fringe Actors and the Staging of Conflictual Media Events in Norway




Qur’an burning, media event, ritual, Islamophobia, free speech, secularism


Denmark, Sweden, and Norway have in recent years seen a wave of Qur’an burnings, a subset of Qur’an desecration, involving largely non-religious fringe actors. Desecrations of the Qur’an are nothing new, but their mode of articulation in the present requires attention to both context and the actors involved. In this article we examine the Qur’an-burning events of the Norwegian organization Stop the Islamisation of Norway (SIAN). The article draws on media events theory, paying attention to how the symbolic and ritual dimensions of such spectacular mediated events generate both cohesion and conflict among globalized audiences. Informed by both on- and offline ethnographic fieldwork, we explore the mediated ritualization of smaller-scale urban events involving staged Qur’an burnings by this far-right fringe group in Norway in recent years. We demonstrate how a relatively small and marginal far-right political actor succeeds in being foregrounded by the media, creating polarization, capturing free speech, and racializing Muslims by desecrating the Qur’an.



2024-06-17 — Updated on 2024-07-02


How to Cite

Linge, M., & Bangstad, S. (2024). The Qur’an Burnings of SIAN: Far-Right Fringe Actors and the Staging of Conflictual Media Events in Norway. Temenos - Nordic Journal for the Study of Religion, 60(1), 83–103. (Original work published June 17, 2024)