• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Oslo Muslims support Jews after CPH attacks

AFP/The Local · 22 Feb 2015, 09:16

Published: 22 Feb 2015 09:16 GMT+01:00

Norwegian Muslims organized a peace vigil in Oslo Saturday in a show of solidarity with Jews a week after fatal shootings in Copenhagen targeted a synagogue and free speech seminar.
 
As the small mainly elderly Jewish congregation filed out of the synagogue after Shabbat prayers, a group of young Muslims, many of them teenage girls wearing headscarves, formed a symbolic ring outside the building to roaring applause from a crowd of more than 1,000 people.
 
 
"This shows that there are many more peacemakers than war-makers," 37-year-old Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the organizers told the crowd.
 
"There is still hope for humanity, for peace and love across religious differences and background," he added, before a traditional Shabbat ceremony was held in the open air with many demonstrators adding their voices to the Hebrew chants.
 
Norway's chief rabbi appeared visibly moved when he said it was the first time the ceremony had taken place outdoors with so many people.
 
 
'Look to Norway'
"It is unique that Muslims stand to this degree against anti-Semitism and that fills us with hope... particularly as it's a grassroots movement of young Muslims," said Norway's Jewish community leader Ervin Kohn, adding that the rest of the world should "look to Norway".
 
"Working against fear alone is difficult and it is good that we are so many here together today."
 
There was a heavy police presence at the event and sharp shooters placed on surrounding buildings but no incidents were reported.
 
"It has been calm as we expected. We had no reason to expect any trouble but we were prepared," said police superintendent Steiner Hausvik, adding that about 1,300 attended the vigil.
 
Several Muslim speakers said that Islam was a religion of peace and that "it's true face" had nothing to do with terrorism -- despite what they said was unfair reporting in certain Nordic media which portrayed Muslims "as a problem".
 
The initiative by Norway's Muslim youth to link arms with Norwegian Jews in a circle around Oslo's synagogue was an effort to denounce recent violence by jihadists striking Jewish communities in France and Denmark.
 
"We want to show our support to the Jews after what happened in Copenhagen," Hibaq Farah, a young Muslim student of Somali origin told AFP.
 
'We stand with the Jewish people'
Impetus for the vigil came from some young people in Norway's Muslim community, which represents roughly three percent of the nation's 5.3 million population.  
 
They wanted to demonstrate support for the country's estimated 1,300 Jews, following one of the attacks in Copenhagen last weekend that killed Dan Uzan, a 37-year-old volunteer security guard outside the city's synagogue.
 
Story continues below…
The gunman, named by police as 22-year-old Omar El-Hussein -- a Dane of Palestinian origin -- was reportedly radicalized by Islamists in jail.
 
 
Youssef Bartho Assidiq, a Muslim youth leader, told AFP the Oslo event showed that Muslims "stand up for freedom of speech, stand up for freedom of religion and stand up for each other".
 
"This is the best possible response we can give to the polarization we've seen in debates after the attacks in France and Denmark," he said, referring also to the killings last month targeting Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris.
 
A Norwegian Islamist was convicted in 2008 for a shooting attack on Oslo's synagogue two years earlier which damaged the building but claimed no casualties.
 
In 2011, extreme-right mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik shocked Norway by going on a killing spree directed at proponents of multiculturalism that left 77 people dead.

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news.denmark@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
1 in 3 Danes believe Denmark is at war with Islam
A fighter jet launches from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo: US Navy/Scanpix

A new survey finds that a sizeable minority of Danes believe that the country is at war with the religion of Islam and its adherents.

Study finds Danes are getting (even) taller

A new study found that the Danes have been getting even taller compared to the rest of the world over the last century.

Danish comedian slams prayer and religion in viral video
Photo: John MacDougall/Scanpix

A video by a Danish comedian has stirred up a heated debate on the utility of prayer and religion in general.

Danish asylum centre visited by alleged Isis recruiter
Rønne harbour. A number of new asylum centres have been established on the island of Bornholm in recent years. Photo: Ehrenberg Kommuni

A Danish asylum centre on the island of Bornholm was purportedly visited by a man claiming to be an Isis representative.

Nude photo exhibition opens in Copenhagen
Mathilde Grafström's photographs are intended to show that there is nothing wrong with the female body. Photo: Mathilde Grafström

A controversial nude photo exhibition finally opened on Copenhagen’s Nytorv square on Monday after months of wrangling with the local police.

Danes: Muslims must speak out against terrorism
Flowers left outside the French embassy in Copenhagen the day after the attack in Nice, France. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix

According to a new survey, 3 in 4 Danes believe that Muslims in Denmark are not doing enough to distance themselves from extremist acts carried out in the name of their religion.

Copenhagen 4th most liveable city in the world
The magazine praised Copenhagen’s bicycle-friendly infrastructure and nightlife. Photo: Roman Board/Flickr

The Danish capital makes a comeback in the British lifestyle magazine Monocle’s Quality of Life Index, where it 'only' came in 10th last year.

Number of Danes joining Isis in decline
Syrian civil defence members evacuate a young man following a reported air strike on the besieged rebel-controlled town of Douma. Abd Doumany/Scanpix

A number of recently published reports from Scandinavian intelligence services suggest that Isis recruitment peaked across Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia in 2013/2014.

Denmark slammed for sending lesbians to Uganda

Denmark’s decision to deny asylum to three lesbians and send them back to their home country of Uganda has been criticized by an LGBT group.

Denmark's heat wave to continue into next week
Take a dip this weekend – you never know what the rest of summer will have in store! Photo: Erik Refner/Scanpix

The long-awaited summer warmth that finally returned to Denmark this week will be sticking around for awhile, meteorologists said on Friday.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Technology
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Culture
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
National
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
National
Danes with foreign spouses to be hit by new restriction
International
After Brexit, Danish PM resists calls for similar EU referendum
International
Why Denmark won't try to follow the UK out of the EU
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
National
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
International
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
Society
Sex campaigns lead to Danish baby boom
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Don't worry Denmark, the world still loves you
Culture
Danish diversity ad a massive social media hit – have you seen it?
National
Denmark scraps green card but spares current holders
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Society
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
National
Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sport
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
National
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Society
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
2,306
jobs available