Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Oddbjørn Leirvik’s constructive role in Norway

June 8, 2014


Nasir Khan, June 8, 2014

In Norway one social activist and theologian within the Lutheran church  who has done much to advance the cause of religious dialogue  amongst  the believing communities is  Oddbjørn Leirvik. He has focused on creating bonds of understanding and toleration between diverse religious communities. He represents an enlightened perspective in matters of religion that traditionally have led to much conflict and acrimony  in history. Single-mindedly he has followed an open and all-inclusive approach in inter-religious dialogue instead of the more familiar practice where people beat the drums of their own faith being the best and repository of all the truth for the whole of humanity.

Professor Leirvik is one of those people who understand that in these times social and political conditions have changed fast. Many countries in Western Europe have become multi-ethnic,   muti-cultural and multi-religious.  Now we find an increasing number of people from different parts of the world, belonging to different religions, religious traditions and non-religious ideologies living and working in the same country. They are all part of the same society. To live and work together in a humane and peaceful way we need to understand and respect others. That does not mean that we have to accept the misuse and manipulation of religion by some groups or individuals or bow down before those traditions that violate basic human rights and relegate an inferior social status to women. In all such things, Professor Leirvik stands for a just and equitable society where basic human values take precedence over bigotry and crude anti-social indoctrination.

Worldwide protests on Gaza continue

January 9, 2009
Al Jazeera, January 9, 2009

About 40,000 people marched in Oslo against the violence in Gaza

International condemnation of Israel’s two week assault on Gaza has continued, with tens of thousands of protesters calling for end to the military offensive.

In Norway on Thursday, at least 40,000 people marched in the capital Oslo, as well as in five other cities, in a protest called by an alliance of about 80 organisations.

The demonstration was called after two Norwegian doctors working in Gaza sent messages to Norwegian media about Israel’s assault there.

“Our hope is that this gathering will be felt in the Middle East. We want to show the world that people can stand together in peace, no matter what their religious or political view,” Svein Tore Bergestuen, one of the event organisers, told Al Jazeera.


The largely peaceful protest was marred by the detention of at least 27 people after clashes between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Shop windows in the city centre were shattered and police repeatedly used teargas to break up groups of activists.

The violence started when about 1,000 pro-Palestinian supporters showed up at a rally sponsored by Norway’s largest opposition party in support of Israel.

Television pictures showed them burning Israeli flags and throwing projectiles at police.

“This has nothing to do with the situation in Gaza,” Johan Fredriksen, chief of staff of the Oslo police, told the website of the Aftenposten newspaper.

“These people came to the protest with knives, bats and Molotov cocktails,” he said, speaking about the pro-Palestinian side.

Other protests

Demonstrations were also held in Venezuela, Tehran, Khartoum and Sarajevo.

Protesters in Venezuela protesting against Israeli attacks [AFP]

In an address to thousands in Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, criticised some Muslim majority states for not supporting the Palestinians.Thousands also gathered in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to express their solidarity with Gaza, some brandishing models of rockets.

Several hundred people gathered in freezing conditions in front of the US embassy in Sarajevo and called for Washington to use its influence to stop Israeli attacks on Gaza.

In Venezuela, protesters condemning Israel sprayed graffiti and hurled shoes at the country’s embassy, backing the decision by Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president, to expel the Israeli ambassador.

About 1,000 demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and chanted “Gaza, hold on! The world is rising up!”

The protest came two days after Chavez ordered Shlomo Cohen to leave in protest over the war and Israel says it is considering expelling Venezuelan diplomats in response.

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