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Peace ring
around the Oslo Synagogue

· Organized by a group of young Muslims ·

“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” and more generally to “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims”. Seventeen-year-old Hajrad Arshad spoke like an adult, describing the “peace ring” which she organized for Saturday evening, the Jewish day of Shabbat, in a sign of solidarity with the Jewish community following the tragic events in France and Denmark. Arshad spoke with the Norway's state broadcaster NRK on 17 February.

We want to demonstrate “that Norwegian youth reject what happened in Denmark and to show that Muslims do not support terrorism”, said Atif Jamil, another of the event's organizers, who believes that “it's important to destroy the prejudice that Muslims detest Jews”. According to Facebook, more than 1,500 people are expected to participate.
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”. Kohn had initially given permission to organize the human chain of people around the Synagogue on the condition of the participation of at least 30 Muslims. “I’ve said that if 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,” he said. These fears however were unfounded considering the anticipated turnout.

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