Norway: Allah will decide if it's peaceful (UPDATED)

Norway: Allah will decide if it's peaceful

Update 2:

About three thousand demonstrators showed up. The main part of the demonstration has ended, and the protesters were urged to continue the march part of the event quietly and calmly. The protesters then marched towards the Oslo Central Station.

Among the signs being held: "Islam is part of Norway", "boycott Dagbladet", "We are Muslims, not terrorists", "Stop publishing caricatures", "we demand respect for all religions".

According to the police, the demonstration is illegal since they are not going where they announced they would. (NO, NO, NO)

Pictures here.


The demonstration started off at the University Square at 3pm with prayer.

"If this will be allowed to continue in the end it will be too late. Then we'll get a September 11th and a June 7th on Norwegian soil. This is not a threat, but a warning," says Mohyeldeen Mohammad, spokesperson for "the volunteers" group.

"We have gathered here today to show disgust of the caricatures which Norwegian media has printed as part of the war against Islam," says the head organizer of the demonstration today.

The demonstrators demand an apology from Dagbladet. (NO)

See here for more on this story:
* Oslo: 1000 taxi drivers protest Muhammed cartoon
* Oslo: Taxi drivers continue Muhammed-cartoon protest
* Norway: Imam disappointed by Dagbladet meeting
* Norway: Former terror-suspect organizing Muhammed cartoon protest
* Norway: Demonstrations planned for Friday, calls for calm among Muslims

One of the members of the group "The volunteers", who are responsible for the demonstration this afternoon, is Qasim Ali. He says the group consists of people from different countries.

"I can't say if it's 10 or 15 in the group, but there are many who contributes, much more than those who were administrators of the Facebook group," Quasim told

The 26 year old says he's concerned about what could happen during the demonstration.

"I really hope there won't be riots. It's just sad that an impression has been created that we will cause riots. We really don't want that. It's scary that people think that," says Ali.

"We've worked hard to find guards from many different communities, and are about to accept more now. We have good dialog with the police about the demonstration," he adds.

Ali is disappointed that the group is called radical by some of the media, and says they just want to show their disgust against the caricatures of the prophet Muhammed and are protesting against what they think is a mockery of Islam.

The General Secretary of the Islamic Council says it's completely wrong to think that extremists are behind the announced Muhammed demonstration outside the Parliament. And the police is prepared for a turbulent afternoon.

"We have good contacts with the organizers and don't support the view that it's extremists who are behind [it]. we keep ourselves informed through them and will react if it escalates. But in which way it's too early to say, it will depend on what happens," General Secretary Saib Shoaib Sultan told Norwegian news agency NTB.

Yet he maintains his call to refrain from participating in the demonstrations in order to prevent them from escalating. The Islamic Council of Norway fears that rioting elements will use the demonstration for their own purposes, a concern that the police shares.

"Under the circumstances we can't therefore recommend participating, even in legal demonstrations," the council says.

Liberal Party politician Abid Raja also urges not to participate in the demonstration. While medical student and debater Usman Rana urges the youth to act peacefully and civilized in the demonstration.

"I'm getting a little deja-vu feelings now from the caricature controversy in 2006, therefore I urge other Muslims to be calm, and ask them to think what is the best for society and for Muslims. It's not whipping up the atmosphere further now," Rana told NRK.

The Facebook group has been removed from Facebook after they got tips of hateful comments on the site, says Quasim Ali.

He says he doesn't understand why the site had to be closed for this reason, and thinks what it said there was within the acceptable limit.

The spokesperson for the group is 24 year old Mohyeldeen Mohammad from Larvik, originally from Iraq. He sees the demonstration as a protest against the war against Islam, Norwegian soldiers in Afghanistan and mocking the prophet Muhammed.

Mohammad says he also hopes that the demonstration will be peaceful.

"I can't ensure that it will be peaceful. But I'm doing the best I can. The rest is up to Allah to decide if this will be peaceful or not, and what is the outcome," says Mohammad.

He also says he feels betrayed by the Islamic Council which refrained from taking part in the demonstrations.

The Oslo Police district say they keep in touch with a contact person from the organizers, so they can ensure the best possible arrangement for those involved.

"The aim of such dialog is from the police's side to arrange that the demonstrators can express themselves peacefully in worthy manners, where the message is the main thing," spokesperson Jørn-Kr. Jørgensen of the Oslo police district told

In the dialog with the group they emphasized the need for responsible guards.


"It's a demonstration against Dagbladet and all those who printed Muhammed cartoons and those who support the printing. It's also a demonstration against the authorities who let this happen," says Mohammad.

Dagbladet printed the controversial drawing where the prophet Muhammed was portrayed as a pig. But the man who found the drawing on the net was Arfan Bhatti. He was interviewed on two pages in the controversial Dagbladet edition. He doesn't hide that he's the one who went to the paper.

"I didn't tip. I went myself to Dagbladet and said: here's the case," says Bhatti.

"I won't go into how the issue started, but Arfan Bhatti was a contributor," says Dagbladet's editor Lars Helle.

Bhatti told Dagbladet that he found the drawing on the Facebook site of the PST (Police Security Service). PST stressed that they hadn't posted it. The link was removed shortly afterward.

But a Facebook group was already underway to organize the demonstrations. Arfan Bhatti is one of the administrators.

"If somebody thinks it's funny that I am a contributor to mobilizing for demonstrations, then they can think that," says Bhatti.

Abid Raja thinks it's strange that the same person who contributed to a four-page spread in Dagbladet, is at the same time calling for demonstrations against the same paper.

"Dagbladet is acting like a useful idiot," says Raja. He gets support from Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, parliamentary leader of the Centre Party.

"I think it's strange that Dagbladet is letting themselves be used by Bhatti in order to create unrest," he says.

Source: NRK 1, 2(Norwegian)

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