Sunday, July 31, 2011

NORWAY: Muslims share grief, hope, unity...

Muslim men pray at the World Islamic Mission Mosque in Oslo
Reuters from July 26 2011 Photo of Mosque in Norway where grievers prayed-
internet cache

Muslims in Norway said they shared the pain of their Christian compatriots after the massacre

Norway Muslims share nation's grief and hope for unity
By Mohammed Abbas and Aasa Christine Stoltz | Reuters – Tue, Jul 26, 2011
(Additional reporting by Wojciech Moskwa)

OSLO (Reuters) - As central Oslo reeled from Norway's worst massacre in modern history, a blond man in the grieving crowd asked Iraqi-born Iman al-Kofi, wearing a headscarf, for a hug.

Kofi, who had a friend in intensive care with three bullet wounds and had learned that at least one other friend of Iraqi origin had been killed in Friday's massacre by an anti-Islamic extremist, obliged, and the man walked back into the crowd without another word.

Kofi, 19, and other Muslim immigrants say they would have been treated very differently had the perpetrator of one of the country's most heinous crimes been a fellow Muslim, and not far-right Norwegian zealot Anders Behring Breivik.

"If it was a Muslim, they would blame all foreigners and hate us all," she said, adding that she had come to Oslo to grieve with the tens of thousands of others who converged on the Norwegian capital on Monday to pay their respects to the dead.

Muslims in Norway said they shared the pain of their Christian compatriots after the massacre, in which Breivik gunned down young people, mainly teenagers, on a holiday island and bombed an Oslo government building, killing a total of 76 people.

Norwegians of all backgrounds united to condemn his actions and views, and Muslim leaders said they hoped the atrocities would lead to a better future for race relations.

Muslims said they felt relief that the rising tide of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe had not been given fresh momentum by another Muslim killing innocent people in the name of Islam.

"We thought 'Praise God it wasn't a Muslim'," said Algerian immigrant Mahmoud Tariq, 23, who was at an Oslo mosque when its windows were blown open by the bomb Breivik had planted.

"Of course we were scared. We thought they'd clamp down on us," said Tariq's friend Mohammed Khaled, 31.

..."I have a big hope that this will change Norway in a positive direction. Everyone is united, regardless of color, cultural background, ethnicity. We are all affected, we are all wounded," said Najeeb Ur Rehman Naz, a prominent Imam based in Norway.

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Also find article here on influence of right-wing media here

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