MORE than 1000 Muslims have formed a human shield around Oslo’s synagogue, offering symbolic protection for the city’s Jewish community and condemning an attack on a synagogue in neighboring Denmark last weekend.
Chanting “No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia,” Norway’s Muslims formed what they called a ring of peace a week after Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, a Danish-born son of Palestinian immigrants, killed two people at a synagogue and an event promoting free speech in Copenhagen last weekend.
“Humanity is one and we are here to demonstrate that,” Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the protest’s organizers told a crowd of Muslim immigrants and ethnic Norwegians who filled the small street around Oslo’s only functioning synagogue.
“There are many more peace mongers than warmongers,” Abdullah said as organizers and Jewish community leaders stood side by side. “There’s still hope for humanity, for peace and love, across religious differences and backgrounds.”
Norway’s Jewish community is one of Europe’s smallest, numbering around 1000, and the Muslim population, which has been growing steadily through immigration, is 150,000 to 200,000. Norway has a population of about 5.2 million.
The debate over immigration in the country came to the forefront in 2011 when Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people and accused the government and the then-ruling Labor party of facilitating Muslim immigration and adulterating pure Norwegian blood.
Support for immigration has been rising steadily since those attacks, however, and an opinion poll late last year found that 77 percent of people thought immigrants made an important contribution to Norwegian society
MEANWHILE…WHAT WALKING FOR FIVE HOURS AS A MUSLIM THROUGH AN ITALIAN CITY LOOKS LIKE
“Taliban!” one woman shouted as Hamdy Mahisen walked past her on a Milan street.
“Shit, have you seen the ISIS?” asked another passer-by.
Mahisen, a student of Egyptian descent, walked around Milan as part of a “social experiment” conducted by Italian newspaper La Repubblica. Wearing a traditional Islamic outfit and holding a Quran, Mahisen silently strode around the Italian city for five hours as the reactions his presence elicited were surreptitiously filmed.
As the video below shows, Mahisen drew distrustful stares and nasty comments from people on the street.
“Look, he’s got the Quran,” said one man, according to a La Repubblica translation. “Think if he’s got a gun under his tunic.”
Anti-Muslim sentiment is reportedly on the rise in Italy following the deadly extremist attacks in France and Denmark. The country is also currently on edge over the threat of an ISIS invasion via Libya.
WHAT 10 HOURS WALKING IN PARIS AS A JEW LOOKS LIKE
Earlier this week, Jewish journalist Zvika Klein was recorded walking through Paris for 10 hours wearing a kippah, or yarmulke, to show what it’s like to be a Jew in the French capital.
“I got spit at, cursed and threatened,” Klein wrote on Twitter of the experience.
The video has garnered more than 1 million views since being posted to YouTube