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1.300 people formed «Ring of Peace» outside Oslo synagogue after young Muslims initiative

– Today innocent Muslims stand up for innocent Jews. Tomorrow it can be the other way around. Say no to anti-semitism, and no to islamophobia, one of the speakers, Morad Jarodi, said.

Over 1000 Muslims formed a human ring around Oslo’s synagogue today in a show of solidarity with Jews – a week after an Islamic gunman attacked a synagogue in neighbouring Denmark.

Both Muslim and Jewish speakers talked about solidarity and peace in the symbolic gathering (with English subtitles).

The event, that made headlines many places in the world, gathered between 1200 – 1400 people Saturday evening in the street outside the Oslo synagogue.

Young Muslims and other participants, holding hands, filled the street. They formed what they called a «Ring of Peace».

Rabbi Michael Melchior told the masses outside his synagogue about his trip to the funeral of the man killed outside the synagogue in Copenhagen last weekend.

– Afterwards, I sat with the grieving parents. I told them about the initiative of young Muslims here in Oslo, and the father of Dan Uzan 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 have given me a reason to continue living. Maybe it was a meaning to my son's death. Maybe it gives reason to life for the future».

–This message goes to the entire world, it is not just here in Norway, it is a universal message, he says.

17 år gamle Hajrah Asrhad er en av initiativtakerne bak Fredens ring

17 year old speaker and organizer Hajrah Asrhad said Muslims and Jews have the same fears, and must fight it together.

Foto: Larsen, Håkon Mosvold / NTB scanpix

– We have the same fears

– Most of us Muslims stand up for Jews rights. I hope that other communities do like us and fight against radicalization. It is unfair to be set up against the wall for everything a Muslim terrorist does. We are not here today to say we are sorry on behalf of the Muslim that attacked people in Copenhagen. What we do here is to show everyone we stand with you. We feel the same fears as you, and we will bear the brunt together with you, says initiator Hajrah Arshad in her appeal.

Arshad tells NRK that she thinks it is great so many have showed up, and that they have received so much positive feedback.

– The Rabbi's speech was straight from the heart, in the same way as our Muslim speakers talked straight from the heart. It shows that people put their souls in this. This is not the last you see of us, she says.

– Together against fear

– We must work against fear. It is much easier to work against fear when we are together. It is very nice that we are so many here today, leader of the synagogue in Oslo, Ervin Kohn, said.

– Why has this «Peace Ring» gained so much attention? Because it is unique. I think we once again can say «Look to Norway» after what has happened here tonight. This event fills me with hope. Youngsters take back the power to define what a Muslim is. They will not let the extremists polarize society. We will continue this fight together, he said further.

– I said to Harjah when she called earlier this week that if 30 people show up it is not good, it might seem counter-productive. However, if you fill the street, it is very good – and they certainly did, and then some, Kohn said.

–This makes us feel that we are not alone, and it gives us hope for the future. Hoping to downsize enemy images and fight against those who want to create images of the enemy. The extremists want exactly that. And taking from extremists the definition power is important, he said further.

Fredens ring samlet 1200-1400 mennesker

Packed streets outside the Oslo synagogue Saturday evening.

Foto: Larsen, Håkon Mosvold / NTB scanpix

There were strong appeals and rabbi shouted «Allahu akbar» – God is great – under his appeal.


– It was great to see. Muslims and Jews have the same ancestor. We have the same God. It is more that gathers us than that separate us, Kohn says.

Video permalink and embed code: Ring of Peace

For Norwegian version: 1300 mennesker dannet «Fredens ring»

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