Norwegian Muslims Plan Solidarity Event with Oslo’s Jews

Group of Muslims in Norway will stage a solidary event with the Jewish community by forming a ring around an Oslo synagogue Saturday evening at the end of the Jewish Sabbath.

"If the Jihadists want to use violence in the name of Islam, they must go through us Muslims first," said one of the event's initiators in a statement given to “Hope Not Hate,” a British anti-extremism organization.

“Muslims want to show that we deeply despise all types of hatred of Jews, and that we are there to support them,” the statement said.

The event comes after the numerous and deadly attacks on Jews by Muslims in Europe, most recently in Copenhagen, where an Islamist gunman shot and killed a volunteer Jewish security guard in front of a synagogue where a celebration was taking place. Hours earlier, the gunman went on a shooting spree at a café where a free speech forum was taking place. The forum featured Lars Vilks, a cartoonist controversial for drawing unflattering pictures of Mohammed, the founder of Islam.

Speaking to Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Hajrad Arshad, a 17-year old Norwegian Muslim and one of the event’s organizers said, “We think that after the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, it is the perfect time for us Muslims to distance ourselves from the harassment of Jews that is happening.”

Arshad added the aim of the event was to “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims.”

Although Arshad has posted on her personal Facebook page a picture titled “All United for Free Palestine” depicting Palestinian control over the entire state of Israel, she wrote in a recent post that she distinguishes Jews from Israeli policies, of which she says there are none that she likes.

“I have nothing against Jews and have never expressed [anything against them] either. It is important to distinguish between these two [Jews and the policies of the state of Israel],” she wrote, adding that Muslims don’t like being grouped together and compared with the Islamic State and other terrorists.

“It’s important that we Muslims don’t make the same the same mistake, we know how hurtful it can be!” she added. (Translated from Norwegian)

 The event, which has been welcomed by the Jewish community, is scheduled to take place right after the Jewish Sabbath so that members of the synagogue can participate.  

On the event’s Facebook page, "Fredens Ring," translated as the Ring of Peace the organizers posted: "Muslims want to show that we deeply deplore all types of hatred of Jews, and that we are there to support them. We will therefore create a human ring around the synagogue on Saturday 21 February. Encourage everyone to come! "(Translated from Norwegian)

The page is being shared through social media, and the organizers hope that the event will attract hundreds of participants. As of press time, 715 people had indicated that they were planning to attend the event.