Top European Rabbi Condemns Violently Antisemitic Facebook Posts by ‘Interfaith’ Imam in Norway
A leading European rabbi has expressed dismay at revelations that a Norwegian imam who engaged in interfaith dialogue with Jews and Christians had repeatedly posted antisemitic statements on his Facebook account.
Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt of the Conference of European Rabbis said that the posts by Imam Noor Ahmed Noor “were issued by someone who claims to represent the movement for enhancing inter-religious understanding and promoting the rights of people of different faiths to live without fear of harassment or violence.”
“These expressions are wholly contradictory to the values that define us as Europeans and as people of faith,” continued Rabbi Goldschmidt, who is also an executive member of the Muslim Jewish Leadership Council (MJLC).
Goldschmidt said that “Jewish communities are keenly aware of the dangerous link between hate speech and real-world violence, and Europe’s Jewish and Muslim communities are united in rejecting this antisemitism in the strongest terms.”
According to an investigation in the Norwegian press, Noor had been making antisemitic remarks on Facebook for years, including exhortations to “kill Jews.”
The imam’s sponsoring organization — the Pakistan-based Minhaj ul-Quran — said that it had suspended Noor as director of its branch in Norway. Noor himself also apologized for the posts after they were exposed, but presented them as a consequence of his legitimate opposition to the State of Israel.
“My posts were published in frustration over attacks in Gaza,” Noor stated. “Innocent children and women were killed. My criticism and frustration should have been directed at the regime. And not against a group of people. I apologize.”
However, two other Norwegian Muslim organizations — the Islamic Council of Norway (IRN) and the Muslim Dialogue Network (MDN) — were more forthright in their condemnation of Noor.
Mustafa Mahmood, a spokesman for the IRN, said that his group “clearly distanced ourselves from these statements and all forms of antisemitism.”