Photo Credit: Grzegorz Wysocki / Wikimedia Commons
The Oslo Synagogue, built in 1920. The congregation was established earlier, in 1892.

A 17-year-old Muslim teen has rallied hundreds of young Muslims in Oslo who say they plan to protect Jews as they pray on Sabbath in synagogue this Saturday. The group says they’ll form a “peace ring” around the Jewish house of worship in the Norwegian capital.

Hajrad Arshad told state broadcaster NRK she initially called for 30 volunteers. Instead, at least 630 have risen to the challenge. She and her six co-organizers are part of a Facebook discussion forum called URETT AVSLØRES, “Injustice Revealed.”

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The group intends to “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims,” the young activist said. “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.”

Oslo Jewish community spokesperson Ervin Kohn welcomed the initiative, welcomed the initiative, pointing out the group was willing to defend the city’s Jews with their own bodies. “What they are showing is that if anyone wants to do anything against Jews in Norway, they ‘have to go through us first’ – and I think that’s very positive.”

Kohn said the synagogue agreed to the initiative as long as more than 30 young Muslims showed up – because otherwise, “it may seem counterproductive. “But if you fill Bergstien (the street on which the synagogue is located),” he added, “it will be very good.”

Arshad told Vårt Land the group had decided on the project both as “fellow human beings and Muslims in Norway, to show that Muslims distance themselves from the anti-Semitism which Jews encounter daily.”

In a statement on the group’s Facebook, they write that “Islam is to rise above hate and never sink at the same level as the haters. [We as] Muslims wish to show that we take deep exception to all forms of hatred of Jews and that we are there to support them. This is why we shall be forming a human ring around the synagogue.”

Contrary to the poison spewed from countless televised and live sermons by radical Islamist imams in mosques around the world daily, not all forms of Islam are malignant, nor do all Islamic scholars or clerics preach hatred.

Turkish Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar warned Muslims to protect Jews and their synagogues as far back as 2008.  “The world ‘Israel’ is the name of Prophet Ya’qub (Jacob), peace be upon him, who is praised in the Qu’ran and remembered with great respect by Muslims,” Oktar writes. “The Magen David (Star of David), a symbol associated with King David is a holy symbol for us too. According to Qu’ran 22:40, Muslims must protect synagogues because they are places of worship. So why should members of the two religions not live together in peace?”

Oktar also warns Jews must “act in accordance with the moral valued and character of the King Messiah as revealed in the Torah… Judaic sources describe how the King Messiah will be a just person who protects the weak, honest, loving and peaceful… and make the world a place where everyone lives together as brothers in peace and security.” His writings on Muslim co-existence with Jews and other topics are translated into Norwegian in a special section of his website.  For his advocacy, Oktar has been vilified by numerous radical Muslim extremists and more than a few skeptical Jews as well.

Another courageous Muslim who has spoken out to advocate for peaceful Islam is Jordanian Sheikh Yassin Al-Ajlouni, who ruled last year that Jews should have a place of prayer on the Temple Mount — the estimated site of the Holy of Holies of both the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem.

In a video statement posted online December 18, 2014, the sheikh bravely called on “the religious ruling authorities in Palestine and Jordan” to allow Jews to build a synagogue on the site – the third holiest site in Islam as well – in the spirit of Islamic religious tolerance.

“There should be a special place of worship for the Jews among the Israelis under Hashemite and Palestinian sovereignty, and in agreement with the Israeli regime,” he said. “This by no means entails the harming of the Al Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Park of the courtyard, where there are trees, will be allocated for the prayer of the Israelis,” he prophesied, calling on other scholars in Jordan and among Palestinian clerics to “clarify their religious position regarding the building of a place of worship dedicated for the Israeli Jews.”

He commented also that he knew he was likely to face severe criticism or punishment for the statement. The Temple Mount is administered under the Jordanian Islamic Waqf Authority with the cooperation of the State of Israel.

Sadly, the sheikh was the recipient of severe criticism from nearly all quarters, including those of the Jordanian Iftaa Department, which issued a fatwa against him, calling him “ignorant” and having “no legitimacy.”

Within days, the sheikh was forced to recant his statement, and posted a poem on Facebook in which he called on Jews to avert plans to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Mount (there are none, of course) and exhorting them to convert to Islam.

“I am retracting my call, in my previous video, to allocate a place of worship for the Jews [ on the Temple Mount] he said in a follow-up video on December 28, 2014. “The Israelis interpreted this call as if I were saying that they have a right to Bayt al-Maqdis (the Temple Mount). I would like to emphasize that Bayt al-Maqdis is pure Islamic land. No one is allowed to give it up, trivialize it or to pass sovereignty over it to any non-Muslim party.”

The sheikh was then arrested by Jordanian authorities shortly after the second video was posted, and a lawsuit was filed against him by the “General Mufti Department” attorney general.

Oktar has repeatedly said that the Qu’ran states there is “no compulsion” in Islam, and warns it is forbidden to try to coerce anyone to convert to the faith. Tragically, al-Ajloun himself was forced by his own government to declare that Islam will be “victorious over the Jews” and that there is “still time to convert.”

Sheikh and professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi, who is the secretary-general of the Italian Muslim Association, was born in Rome to a Syrian Arab woman and an Italian Muslim father. Palazzi, an imam, is another Muslim cleric who challenges the typical terrorist poison broadcast around the world about Islam.

“The Qur’an foretells that before the Day of Resurrection the children of Israel will come back to the Land of Israel from which they were exiled twice,” Palazzi told Alex Maist of Novosty Nideli. “As about the right to create a state, this is not specified either for the Jewish people or for any other people,” he said.

“The Qur’an does not specifically contain the notion of a ‘capital,'” Palazzi added, “but mentions that Jerusalem was the center of the kingdom of David and Solomon and the seat of the Temple which Solomon built with the help of human beings and invisible beings. If this is not exactly the concept of a capital, it is nevertheless very close to it,” Palazzi pointed out.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

50 COMMENTS

  1. Isis and groups like them are just criminals. They are as much a threat to the Muslim world that does not agree with them as they are to Jews and Christians. The world has to wake up this fact. We have the a 1930s Nazi like situation on the rise and no one is paying attention and there is no Winston Churchill on the horizon. Isis is not going away y talk.

  2. read what you wrote. "…a threat to the Muslim world that does not agree with them as they are to the Jews…" Only some Muslims are deserving of death, and some of other punishment. But all the Jews deserve to die. Isis is not "just criminals" They are Muslim jihadists. AND they have a lot of support among many Suni Muslims, including women, illogical as it may seem to you or me.

  3. I wonder if this is true "galut" mentality-rely on someone,hope that you'll be protected by someone? Read the history,it's repeats itself! Go home,to Israel, and pray as much your heart desires as a free Jew,protected by Jews and relying on your self!

  4. Norwegian Muslims were planning and carrying out anti-Israel activities when the massacre by Anders Breivik took place. Please don't be too enthusiastic about this attempt to protect Jews – when push comes to shove, they will again betray us. How many murderous radicals will be amongst those encircling the Shul, plotting and planning to terrorize and burn?

  5. Jordanian Sheikh Yassin Al-Ajlouni – poor man. He made a gesture showing both wisdom and goodwill, and was duly punished by his own people (who dislike both wisdom and goodwill), and then arrested!

    Better that we not be like the Jews of Europe in the 1930s who hoped and hoped through all the atrocities that things would not get worse, that someone would help them or Hitler would relent. Things WILL get worse. Islam hates us. Any of their number who suggests kindness towards us, or a change in outlook, will always be severely punished by his fellow Muslims. And often murdered, for the 'honour' of Islam. Huh.

  6. I wouldn't hope too hard. This will not last. Once these "kind" Muslims have been punished by their brethren and their Imams, the protection of Jews will fade very, very fast. Wake up, Jewish people of South Africa. Your "moderate" Muslims do not exist and Al Qaeda flourishes in your country.

  7. I wonder if Muslims remember that Jews are the children of Abraham- the same father who sired them as well. As their brothers and sisters they should be as protective as these young students wish to be. If only all Muslims would embrace the notion that all of mankind are members of their family. We are all brothers and sisters.

  8. I have high hopes for this event. I also like that it is a 17- year old who is championing this event. It's a sign that the younger generation is outgrowing old prejudices of the 20th century, and that the future shows promise of peace. I also think it should be said that 1 out of every 7 people is a Muslim, and the vast majority of them are good people, trying to live good lives. Don't let the extremists define a group. Especially one that large. I'd love to see a similar event be hosted by the Jewish community in response. We need to band together to wipe out prejudice on all sides. Love can spread even faster than hate if we allow it to do so. Yes, the medieval attacks on freedom of speech hold people back, but when expressions of compassion like this occur, they are far more powerful.

  9. Give them their kudos now because radical Islam will target them for annihilation. They will be used as an example to other Muslims who do not conform to blanket hatred of the Jews.

  10. The intended actions of this young Muslim teen, Hajrad Arshad, and her supporters are indeed quite courageous and commendable, and a most unique deed performed by someone of her faith, a faith that has shown to be most intolerant toward all Jews, Christians and even "contemporary" Muslims, who dare to veer from the strict laws of Sharia otherwise risking acts of lapidation, mutilation of genetalia and other heinous acts of cruelty. We certainly hope members of her community show understanding and are supportive in the matter, which may help all of us peace-loving Christians, Jews and people of other religions to change our minds regarding the overly ambitios and often brutal agendas of the many followers and believers of a overambitious, self-proclaimed prophet of circa 600 CE.

  11. What a courageous, kind and beautiful person this young Muslim woman must be. Reading this article actually brought tears to my eyes. If only our world could be governed and run by women like this, it would surely be a much better place for all of mankind.

  12. Sara I don't believe this is a Purim Joke! There are some youngsters out there who are not brainwashed by the so called god mohammed. Maybe this young boy knows who mohammed really was. Give him a break. We have bad Jews like rotten George Soros a real shyster!

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