Norwegian Muslim Leaders Meet Visiting British Imam at IofC Centre
09 December 2006

The Chairman of the Islamic Council of Norway, the Imams of Oslo's three biggest mosques and other leaders of the Muslim community came for dinner in the IofC centre in Oslo to meet Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid from Great Britain.

He had attended a meeting of the European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL), and stayed on for four days to work with Initiatives of Change.

In his after-dinner address, Imam Sajid stressed the task of Norway's faith communities as bridgebuilders. He especially referred to the Chairman of the Muslim Council and an Oslo Imam who had travelled to the Middle East and Pakistan respectively to clear up misunderstandings and reduce tension after the publication of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. He also lauded the Imam of Oslo's central mosque, who had visited a synagogue in Oslo to express his solidarity after the synagogue had been fired at by extremists.

Absolute moral standards such as honesty, unselfishness and love are inherent in Muslim ethics, Imam Sajid continued. By taking full responsibility for the whole of society in which they live, Muslims can help bridge the chasms of mistrust and fear which threaten everybody's future.

A radio interview with Imam Sajid was broadcast nationwide repeatedly throughout December 7, with Sajid stressing the importance of Imams preaching in the Norwegian language. This would also help reduce mistrust and fear, he said. His call was picked up and reinforced in a press release from the head of Norway's Christian Democratic Party, with whom Imam Sajid had had a previous meeting. He also met with the Minister of Labour and Inclusion in the present government and former Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. At a breakfast he exchanged experiences with leaders of the Norwegian Church who are engaged in stimulating interreligious dialogues throughout the country.

Jens Wilhelmsen