Oslo, Norway- A group of young Muslims in Norway have reportedly planned to form a human ring around a synagogue in Norway’s capital on Saturday as a symbolic effort to support the Jewish community. The event’s organizers have said that the group hopes to “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims.”
The gesture was planned partially in response to recent attacks in neighboring country Denmark when a gunman fatally shot a filmmaker during a “freedom of speech” event and went on to kill a security guard at a synagogue.
Atif Jamil, one of the event’s organizers, said that the purpose of the ring is “to show that Norwegian youth reject what happened in Denmark and to show that Muslims do not support terrorism.”
Another organizer, 17-year-old Hajrad Arshad, echoed Jamil’s remark to Norway state broadcaster NRK, saying that “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.”
The organizers created a “Fredens Ring” event on Facebook, which states (translated):
Islam is to protect our brothers and sisters, independently of what religion they belong to. Islam is to rise above hatred and never sink down on the same level as the haters. Islam is to protect each other. Muslims want to show that we strongly condemn all type of anti-Semitism and hatred towards Jews. And that we are there to support them. We will therefore create a human protective ring around the Synagogue Saturday February 21. We encourage everyone to be there with us. Remember Together we can make a difference! You and me.
Over 2,000 people have joined the group’s Facebook event. Oslo Jewish community leader Ervin Kohn responded positively to the group’s efforts, saying that “What they are communicating is that if anyone wants to do anything against Jews in Norway, they have to go through us first, and I think that is very positive.”
Kohn has granted permission for the formation of the peace ring, provided that more than 30 individuals attend. “I’ve said that it only comes to 30, it won’t be good, it may seem counter-productive,” he said. “But if you fill Bergstien [the street where the synagogue is located], it will be very good.”