• 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
Danish MP cleared for 'bomb civilians' remark
Søren Espersen of the Danish People's Party. File photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix

Copenhagen Police have dropped proceedings against Danish People’s Party (DF) spokesperson Søren Espersen after he said that Denmark “should start” bombing civilians in Syria.

Denmark's biggest IPO to be windfall for Goldman Sachs
Dong's expected market value is up to 106.5 billion kroner. Photo: Claus Fisker/Scanpix

The Danish wind farm group Dong Energy is valued at up to $16 billion, leading to renewed debate about its partial sale to the US investment bank.

Aarhus blocks plans for grand mosque
Aarhus will not get a new mosque after all. Photo: Guillaume Baviere/Flickr

The sale of a plot of land for the construction of a grand mosque has been cancelled by Aarhus Municipality.

Denmark's waters are cleaner than ever
Danish beaches are cleaner than ever. Photo: Old Dane/ Wikipedia

Jump on in, the water's fine! In fact, it's cleaner than it's ever been.

Syrian refugees sue Denmark over long family wait time
File photo of the refugee tent camp in Thisted. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix

A group of five Syrians are suing Denmark and Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg over the three-year waiting period for family reunification imposed on refugees.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holder Mehvish Kiran said that her four children would not be able to adjust to life in Pakistan. Photo: Submitted

Thousands of green card holders are desperately trying convince politicians not to force them out of Denmark and say that a recently-granted extension to the scheme is a hollow victory.

Danish economy set for ‘historically’ low growth
File photo: Scanpix DK

Reports from the Ministry of Finance and independent experts suggest that the Danish economy is likely to be one of Europe’s slowest growers over the coming years.

Aarhus named 'second best place in Europe'
Aarhus was named one of the top European destinations of 2016 by the Lonely Planet. Photo: Stan Shebs/Wikimedia

Denmark's second largest city was named among the best European destinations to visit in 2016 by influential travel guide Lonely Planet.

Danish family reunification laws discriminate: court
The court said that Danish rules unfairly discriminate against those who obtain citizenship later in life. Photo: Colourbox

Denmark’s family reunification laws discriminate against those who achieve citizenship later in life, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday.

Brexit
Brit visits Copenhagen on Brexit fact-finding mission
Rebecca Sumner Smith plans to visit the 27 other EU countries before next month's referendum. Photo: Submitted

The Local caught up with British expat Rebecca Sumner Smith when she stopped in the Danish capital as part of her mission to speak to fellow Brits across the EU.

Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
National
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
National
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
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
International
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
National
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Society
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
National
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Culture
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
National
Denmark extends 'temporary' border measures for sixth time
National
Denmark nears final decision on controversial fighter jets
Society
Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters
National
Could Danes face a 'red meat tax' to help climate?
National
Denmark unable to process or issue visas
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
International
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Business & Money
How Denmark’s national bank card is about to change
Culture
The best Danish bands you've (maybe) never heard of
Danes leaving the church in droves
Society
Atheist campaign gets Danes to leave the church in droves
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
National
Four Isis ‘recruits’ arrested in Copenhagen
Business & Money
Unwrapping Denmark's first zero-packaging food store
2,287
jobs available