The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding salutes members of the Danish Muslim community, together with allies and friends who will participate tomorrow in a “Ring of Peace’ around the Copenhagen Synagogue.
According to the Facebook page of the organizers, 674 people of all faiths and backgrounds have confirmed that they will be joining hands and ringing the synagogue in love and solidarity and 269 others have indicated they may attend as well. The total attendance is likely to match the 1000 Muslims and friends who turned out in Oslo, Norway one month ago with the first such Ring Around the Synagogue event, in response to attacks on February 14 and 15 by an Islamist extremist in Copenhagen on a free speech meeting and on the Copenhagen Synagogue, which killed two people, including Dan Uzan, a volunteer guard at the synagogue. Mr. Uzan father is set to attend the Ring of Peace event tomorrow.
According to the initiator of the event, Niddal El-Jabri, the original idea was to hold the Ring of Peace immediately after the shootings in Copenhagen on February 14, but the police denied a permit at the time for security reasons, so the first such event was held in Oslo. More recently, the Copenhagen police agreed to let the Ring of Peace go ahead with the active support of the Danish Jewish community and Chief Rabbi Jair Melchior. “This is a completely grass roots generated idea organized via Facebook,” explained El-Jabri. “I have a very good feeling that so many people-Muslim and non-Muslim have signed up to participate and there has been very little expressed opposition. This is a gesture of solidarity with and support for the Jewish community, which was traumatized by the attack at the synagogue, and a call for the creation of a society where all faiths and ethnicities can live together in peace and harmony. We are also saying that Danish Muslims see ourselves as part of Danish society and reject the path of violence and extremism.
Rabbi Bent Lexner, the former Chief Rabbi of Denmark and a participant in the Gathering of European Muslim and Jewish Leaders, an affiliate of FFEU, remarked, “I find this gesture incredibly uplifting. It is wonderful that many Danish Muslims are stepping forward, reaching out a hand of friendship to the Jewish community and saying, ‘We refuse to be defined by a terrible act of violent extremism.”