It started on Friday 22 July 2011. With a painful picture of a building that was unrecognizable I realized that Norway is under attack by someone who has lots of hate in their heart. I didn’t know who was behind it, or what intentions they had. But one thing I had doubts of, it might be someone who will misuse my lovely religion Islam. But what will happen now I thought? Would I be the victim of hate each time I am in the city, will the ethnic-Norwegians look at me and say “Hey terrorist, get out of here”
But where am I to go? This is also my country as well…. or is it?
Evening of 22 July
While watching the scenes on tv, I was on Facebook seeing the updates by people. So much hate, that it was unbearable that people would start targeting Muslims just minutes after the bomb went off. Thanks to the media, people hated us Muslims due to every single political attack around the world, and when they paint it with “religion”, people tend to think, “here comes Jihad”.. Jihad is a struggle within ourselves and no where in the Quran the word is mentioned as a “fight”, and neither will you find the word “holy war” in there.
Group that brought Norway together – 230 000 members!!
Between 16:00 and 17:00 I started a group event called “together against terror” which later on became “Standing together for peace”. In the start of the group I got messages from people who found it strange that the event I had created was dated before the bomb went off, a facebook glitch. In a way trying to say that I was in some way behind the attacks. I didn’t bother much about that and little did I know that the group would turn into a 100 000 strong group in matter of a few hours, at the time of writing this post, it’s over 230 000 strong. And i posted this message on Friday evening.
Let’s start a “National March Day” where every Norwegian can come out of their homes and show their love and support for those that passed away and those affected by it. Let’s show the world if one person’s hate can go beyond the love we all can create together. Let’s do it guys!!
I felt that there was a need to get everyone together at a time where things looked so dark. I put up a few words in the event info page and asked everyone to message me if they are in a different city than Oslo, so that we can start a march there.
My only condition was:-
- timing has to be 18:00
- date has to be Monday 25 July
What happened behind the scenes?
When a person would ask me if their city had a planned march, I would double check it and then have them call the authorities, pick a meeting spot, and send me the link to a facebook event under my group.The link would then go on the official “march” page at http://www.StandingTogetherForPeace.com
I was up awake till 4 in the morning on friday , saturday, sunday and then even upto around 17:30 I kept getting new “march” info from various people around Norway who wanted to be listed. I had to do the updates via my iphone to avoid anyone to miss out, I apologize if someone didn’t get their listed, it was a LOT of work.
On Monday I appeared on TV2, a Norwegian tv channel, to explain the way it all worked and how I thought of the process and the unexpected amazing results that appeared. All those that said yes to setting up an event in their own city have done a great job, and some cities managed a number between 50 000 to over 150 000 people, the one in Oslo which had only 3250 members in its own event page got a sudden boost after I listed it on my front page as the official gathering I am supporting! The result was 200 000 people who came to Oslo, and more than 800 000 all over Norway came together at one exact time :)
Was it important to say on the Facebook page that I am a Muslim?
I was asked on the TV show as to why I mentioned that I was a Muslim on the event page. It was very important I said, maybe because of the way media has programmed everyone about Muslims. I wanted to change that by showing that we also care about Norway just like an Ethnic-Norwegian would, it’s also my country. And I want peace, don’t you?
What will change now?
I hope things change, first of all the police should shut down all hate groups present in Norway and other countries should also shut down every single group that promotes hate against other religious groups. If a so called, self-invented group like Al-Qaida, is mentioned as a terrorist organization, then groups like EDL should also be on the list, since that’s what they do, they promote hate and that’s what we saw on 22 July.
Why hasn’t the media mentioned that a Muslim was behind the Idea of a National march?
At the time of writing this, apart from Tv2 in Norway, no other media mentioned that the whole campaign was initiated by a Muslim-Norwegian. For my own sake, I don’t need my name to be published anywhere, but I guess that when someone blows a bomb in a city due to the hate he has for Muslims, it was time to show what a “Muslim” is capable of doing.
A journalist from a top newspaper in Norway said that he didn’t mention the word Muslim because it wouldn’t make a difference in how people see Muslims. I disagree.
So what’s the plan for “Standing together for peace”?
I have set up another group with the same name, and will focus on setting up and helping “peaceful” gatherings all over the world. Am working on a few applications for the web that will enable people to set up events. The only condition is, the event HAS to be for a peaceful cause otherwise they won’t be listed!
I hope that we can see beyond the religious values we all have among ourselves, and keep our negativity aside. Because at the end of the day, those that were killed by the terrorist on Friday, were from all backgrounds. A bullet doesn’t see who it’s hurting, but we humans do!
My interviews in the media:-