A group of young Muslims organized a symbolic “ring of peace” to encircle the sole functioning synagogue in Oslo as Jew prayed within on Saturday.
At least 1,300 were inspired to join them in the initiative, which came in solidarity with Jews who were targeted last weekend by a radical Islamist terrorist in Denmark.
“This shows there are many more peacemakers than warmakers,” 37-year-old Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the organizers, told the crowd.
“There is still hope for humanity, for peace and love across religious differences and background,” he said.
Still, Norwegian sharp shooters were deployed on buildings around the synagogue. Police superintendent Steiner Hausvik told reporters, “It has been calm as we expected. We had no reason to expect any trouble but we were prepared.”
Jewish community spokesperson Ervin Kohn expressed gratitude and said it was “unique” that Muslims stood up “to this degree against anti-Semitism,” adding that “this fills us with hope, particularly as it’s a grassroots movement of young Muslims.”
Kohn advised the rest of the world to “look to Norway.”
There are only approximately 1,000 Jews left in Norway’s population of 5.3 million, while immigration of Muslims, about 3 percent of the population, continues to grow.
Last weekend two people died and five police officers were wounded in two attacks several hours apart by the same radical Islamist terrorist. The suspect, 22-year-old Omar el-Hussein, targeted a free speech event at a cafe and then a Bat Mitzvah at the Copenhagen Great Synagogue in Denmark.
Hussein, born in Denmark to Palestinian parents, had reportedly been released from jail only two weeks earlier after serving a two-year prison term for “grievous bodily harm.”