Muslims formed a 'Peace Ring' around a synagogue in Norway to show their brotherhood to Jews and condemn prejudice and extremism
After thirteen long years of the so-called War On Terror, which has seen an increase in both Jihadism and Islamophobia on both sides of the Atlantic, Muslims have continuously been criticized for not doing enough to condemn or counteract extremist factions within their religion. Now, with ISIS‘s reign of terror in the Middle East and Fox News’s lies about Muslim no-go areas in Europe, the division between Muslims and non-Muslims seems greater than ever. In many communities in the Western world, hatred, fear and mistrust have replaced freedom of expression, understanding and compassion between fellow human beings.
But on the 21st February, a seventeen year-old Norwegian girl took a bold and beautiful step to change all that. In response to a terrorist attack outside a synagogue in neighboring Denmark the previous week, Muslim Hajra Arshad decided to stand up to both Islamic extremists and anti-Semitists at the same time.
Hajra took to facebook to organize a ‘peace ring’ around a synagogue in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, as we reported at the time. Peace Ring’s facebook page explained: ‘If the jihadists want to use violence in the name of Islam, they must go through us Muslims first. Muslims want to show that we deeply despise all types of hatred of Jews and that we are there to support them.’
The event was a great success, with over 1000 Muslims turning up to show support for the cause. There are only around 1500 Jews in Norway, while Muslims make up 8% of the country’s 5.1 million population. Speaking about public misconceptions of Jewish people and global anger over the Israel/Palestine situation, Hajra says: “I think it’s really, really really important that people can distance Israel from Jews,” adding: “There are Norwegian Jews who don’t take sides in politics.”
The same can obviously be said for the millions of peaceful Muslims who are feared and abused for their religion. This kind of event could be exactly what we need to start trusting each other again, no matter what our beliefs, skin color or cultural heritage.
Tell us in the comments section what you think we could all do to fight prejudice and build bridges!