Thousands Formed Peace Ring around Oslo Synagogue

Norway’s young Muslims formed a symbolic protection ring around a synagogue in Oslo to condemn synagogue attack in Denmark last weekend. Around two thousand participants formed a human shield around the synagogue on Saturday after the worship of the Jewish community. 

During the event, both the young Muslim activists and the Jewish community leaders held emotional speeches calling for peace and condemning terror, anti-semitism, and Islamphobia.

– Humanity is one and we are here to demonstrate that, said Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the protest’s organizers. He also said that the number of participants show that there are many more peace mongers than warmongers, which is still hope for humanity, for peace and love, across religious differences and backgrounds.

– We want to work against prejudice including the asumption that it is difficult for Jews and Muslims to live together, says Hajrah Arshad (17), one of the initiators behind the event.

She also noted that they are not there to apologize for what happened in Copenhagen, but to show that they, as Muslims in Norway, stand with the Jews.

Rabbi Michael Melchior told that the parents of the murdered man in Copenhagen began to cry when he heard about the peace ring initiative outside the Norwegian synagogue.

– I told them about this initiative from young Muslims in Oslo. The father of the killed man embraced me and began to cry. He said to me: “You must say to the young Muslims in Norway that they have given me hope, they’ve given me a reason to continue living. Maybe it was a meaning in my son’s life. Perhaps this gives reason for life in the future, said he.

He also noted that the message from this gathering goes to the whole world, not only to Norway.

– By forming a friend call and actualizing this, you’ve broken another ring. By forming a ring of friendship, a ring of love and solidarity, you have broken a ring of fear and hatred, of distrust and violence, said Melchior.

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