5000 people from both the Muslim and non-Muslim community in Oslo, Norway attended a demonstration aimed to show unified opposition to Islamic extremism both in Norway and abroad.
Monday last week a group within Norway’s Islamic community had decided that they would no longer accept that the domestic debate around the Muslim community would be dominated by behaviour from extremist groups. They protested against extremism in Oslo and elsewhere in the world. This move had been sparked by continual reports of extreme violence on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and small groups within Norway that have recently been seen publicly supporting and spreading these messages of extreme violence.
ISIS is a self proclaimed caliphate that claims religious authority over all Muslims globally. It has captured large areas of territory in both Iraq and Syria in recent times and actively seeks to gain political control over the greater Islamic world.
On the 19th of August, 2014 ISIS uploaded a YouTube video entitled “A message to America” in which a US Journalist that was reported kidnapped in November 2012 named James Foley was beheaded. This sparked international condemnation with the President of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country (Indonesia) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono making the statement that the Islamic State militants were “embarrassing” to the religion.
One of the initiators of the demonstrations told the Norwegian state run media NRK that the demonstration has been “historic and successful to a degree” and that “the people who showed up today are genuinely concerned with peace, love and human dignity. They do not accept the hateful message of IS and their Norwegian supporters.”
The demonstrations started in the Grønland area of Oslo where people battled rainy conditions before and marching to the Parliament building (Stortinget) where numbers swelled and the predominantly muslim demonstration was joined by a greater number of non-muslims including members of various religious groups.
19 years old Faten Al-Mahdi Hussein spoke loudly on front of the Norwegian parliament building to applause. “It is not enough to be called a Muslim, Islam teaches us nothing but respect, tolerance and peace – and if beheading of people and destruction of churches and mosques, torturing innocents and rape of women is Islam for you, then you have misunderstood Islam. You do not follow Islam.”