A group of Norwegian Muslims plans to create a human ring around Oslo’s synagogue on Saturday, in a gesture they are calling a “Peace Ring,” English-language digital news publisher The Local reported on Tuesday.
Hajrad Arshad, the event’s 17-year-old organizer, told Norway’s state broadcaster NRK that the group aimed to “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims.”
“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,” she said.
Ervin Kohn, the leader of Oslo’s Jewish community welcomed the initiative.
“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,” he said.
He said the synagogue has given the group permission to make the ring, so long as more than 30 young Muslims show up to participate.
“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 based], it will be very good.”
Arshad and her six co-organizers have already got more than 450 people signed up to attend.
“Islam is about protecting our brothers and sisters, regardless of which religion they belong to,” the event page reads.
“Islam is about rising above hate and never sinking to the same level as the haters. Islam is about defending each other.”
The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center on Monday said it feared the recent attacks against Jews in Copenhagen and Paris could be the start of a “pan-European epidemic” as it called for a Europe-wide conference against anti-Semitism.
The prominent Jewish rights group said the shootings in Copenhagen on Saturday followed the same pattern as the attacks in Paris last month, and were directed at “freedom of expression activists, police and Jewish institutions.”
“Paris and Copenhagen are bound to be precedents for a pan-European epidemic. Condemnation is insufficient,” the group said in the statement, addressed to European Council President Donald Tusk.
It called on Tusk to organize a conference to “combat anti-Semitism on every front.”
Some 30,000 people meanwhile attended a rally in Copenhagen Monday evening to pay tribute to the two victims killed in twin shootings in the Danish capital at the weekend, police said.
European nations scrambled to reassure their Jewish communities after deadly attacks in Copenhagen that heightened fears of a new surge in violence.
Flags were flying at half-mast across Denmark after the weekend shootings on a synagogue and a cultural center that stunned one of the world’s most peaceful nations.
The suspected Danish gunman, who was shot dead by police Sunday, was identified as a 22-year-old of Palestinian origin with a history of violent crime.
Two men were charged on Monday with aiding the gunman, named by the media as Omar El-Hussein, in his lone rampage in the Danish capital that left two people dead and five policemen wounded. I24news