Come out Jews we have you surrounded: how bigots distorted the Oslo Muslim peace ring
Swedish Jewry is under attack. Danish Jewry is under attack. But there is hope that racists will not win in Scandinavia. The media has been reporting on Muslims coming to the sid of Jews under threat. Because a large chunk of antisemtism is perpetrated by Muslims against Jews, this is a good thing. Last week a Jewish guard at a Copenhagen synagogue was murdered by an Islamist.
So. Norway’s Muslims joined hands in a show of force. They stood around the Olso synagogue and took a stand.
The Guardian saw a big crowd of 1,300 people:
The report tells readers that 1,300 people were there to support the Jews and show them that Muslims care:
As the mainly elderly Jewish congregation filed out of the synagogue after Shabbat prayers, a group of young Muslims, many of them teenage girls wearing headscarves, formed a symbolic ring outside the building to applause from a crowd of more than 1,000 people.
“This shows that there are many more peacemakers than warmakers,” 37-year-old Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the organisers, told the crowd.
“There is still hope for humanity, for peace and love across religious differences and background,” he added, before a traditional Shabbat ceremony was held in the open air with many demonstrators adding their voices to the Hebrew chants.
Norway’s chief rabbi, Michael Melchior, appeared visibly moved when he said it was the first time the ceremony had taken place outdoors with so many people.
Ervin Kohn, a Jewish community leader, said: “It is unique that Muslims stand to this degree against antisemitism and that fills us with hope … particularly as it’s a grassroots movement of young Muslims,” adding that the rest of the world should “look to Norway”.
So. Do you focus on the hope, the many and the grandstanding, which it undoubtedly is. Or do you look for a problem?
The Times of Israel reports:
One of the eight independent organizers of Saturday’s event in Oslo, 17-year-old Hajrah Arshad, said the gathering shows “that Islam is about love and unity.”
“We want to demonstrate that Jews and Muslims do not hate each other,” co-organizer Zeeshan Abdullah told the crowd, standing in a half-circle before the white synagogue. “We do not want individuals to define what Islam is for the rest of us.”
“There are many more peace-mongers than warmongers,” he added.
Haaretz finds a problem with one of the ‘Peace Ring’s’ organisors:
Several hundred people gathered at a Norwegian synagogue to support Jews at an event which drew praise but also criticism because of an organizer’s anti-Israel and anti-Jewish statements…
Ali Chishti confirmed on Saturday in an interview with Verdens Gang, a highbrow Norwegian newspaper, that he delivered on March 22, 2008, in Oslo a speech on the alleged involvement of Jews in planning the 9/11 Twin Towers bombings in New York. The speech’s title was: ”Therefore I Hate Jews and Gays,” the paper reported, though Chishti said he was not the one who came up with the title.
“There were several thousand Jews away from work in the World Trade Center, and why there were more Jews in Mumbai when Pakistani terrorists attacked than usual?” he said then, repeating the conspiracy theory that Jews knew in advance of the attack that killed thousands. “Jews are a small group, but everyone knows that they have a lot of power,” he said.
In Saturday interviews, he retracted his words. In an interview with the daily Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, he said they were “anti-Semitic” and “unacceptable.”
“I hate Jews, and how they operate and I will furthermore elaborate on why I hold such beliefs… It is raised beyond doubt that Jews are in a minority in the world. A very small minority, yet it cannot be disguised that they are among the most powerful. It is NOT wrong to be powerful, but to abuse ones power, to use illegal means, to use unnecessary military power against civilians, and to behave in a arrogant and barbaric manner is in violation of international law and the human rights. It is a fact that during the attacks on the Twin Towers [World Trade Center] 1600 Jews were absent from work. OK, OK, what’s even more suspicious, is how unusually many Jews there were present in Mumbai on the day that Pakistani terrorists struck. How come?”
Good that he is now no longer keen to spout bigotry and show Islam in a better light.
“I was angry,” he told Verdens Gang. “I have since changed my views.” But he also said he “dislikes” people who support “an occupying force that has been condemned in several United Nations resolutions.”
He means the Islamists in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Niger, Dafur… No. Of course no. He means Israel.
Eric Argaman, a pro-Israel activist and member of Norway’s Jewish community, said Chishti’s involvement “stained the event, which now feels more like a spin, on our backs, than a gesture of good will.”
So. Do we care if there is grandstanding if the message of tolerance and peace gets out there? People are talking face to face. That’s a good thing.
Over in Breitbart, the news is harsher:
There are now just 20 Muslims holding hands.
According to a local eyewitness, only about 20 or so Muslims formed the “ring of peace” around the Oslo synagogue. In fact, pictures from multiple angles show that there wasn’t enough people to form a ring, so the locals instead formed a horizontal line in front of the synagogue.
Are we bothered about the geometry? A ring around a building not the most photo-friendly formation.
But just as some see 20 and a line, others see what they want to. The mixed crowd becomes one that is entirely Muslim:
A source claiming to be a a eyewitness notes:
Well, I was there, and it wasn’t 1000 muslims. It was 1300 people in total of which almost everyone looked like ethnic Norwegians. The people holding hands are media staged – they had barriers in front with an entry checkpoint with 10 guards or so, and allowed a small number of muslims inside together with the Jewish congregation.
So innermost the synagogue with 50 or so Jews, then this semicircle of 20 or so muslims, then the barriers and guards and police, then a mostly Norwegian crowd.
So. It’s not about Muslims. It’s about Norway. No. It’s about people.
And it was positive.
Hajrad Arshad, the event’s 17-year-old organiser, told Norway’s state broadcaster NRK that the group aimed to “extinguish the prejudices people have against Jews and against Muslims. 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,” she said.
Ervin Kohn, the leader of Oslo’s Jewish community welcomed the initiative. “What they are communicating is that if anyone wants to do anything against Jews in Norway, they have to go through us first, and I think that is very positive,” he said.