Close to 1, 000 young Muslims surrounded an Oslo synagogue with a “ring of peace” on Saturday, in response to terrorist attacks on Jews in Denmark and France, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Local Jewish leaders described the event, which was heavily protected by police, as unique and heartwarming.
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“I feel gratitude and hope, ” said Ervin Kohn, head of the Jewish congregation in Oslo. “This sends a strong signal to our little congregation, that we’re not alone.”
The chain of young Muslims, holding hands and speaking of their support for Jews, received applause and cheers from the assembled crowd.
“We must kill the prejudices we have and move on from hate, ” Hassan Raja, 30, one of the organizers, told The Wall Street Journal. “We hope to get people to respect and understand other religions.”
There are only 1, 300 Jews in Norway, in a population of 5.17 million.
A supporting event was held in the city of Bergen.
“We Muslims face the same fear as you [Jews], and we will face it together with you, ” Hajrah Ashrad, 17, told the crowd outside the synagogue. “We hope we can contribute to reduce radicalization in our own group by showing that the majority of young Muslims support Jewish rights.”
“Allahu akbar, Allah is great! Our common God is everywhere in the world, but most of all God is where rings are formed and bridges are built between people, ” Chief Rabbi of Norway Michael Melchior (and a former Knesset member) told the crowd. “That’s where God wants to be. That’s where the future of humanity is secured. Thank you all for coming here tonight.”