An estimated 3,000 people, many of them members of Norway’s large Pakistani-Norwegian community, marched in a torchlit protest Sunday against the Taliban’s attack last week on a school in Peshawar. A total of 132 children and nine teachers were killed in the slaughter.
Norway’s Islamic Council (Islamsk Råd) stated that the attack was as devastating for Pakistan as the attack on Norwegian Labour Party summer campers on the island of Utøya was for Norway three years ago. Mehtab Afsar, secretary general of the council, told newspaper Dagsavisen that it was important to denounce such terror.
“In the same way as on Utøya (where a gunman stalked campers around the island and shot them), the killers went from classroom to classroom and shot children,” he said. The attack in Peshawar has deeply upset Norway’s large population with direct ties to the area, he said.
Afsar said he was grateful that so many people turned up to take part in the march, including Foreign Minister Børge Brende, Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey and Raymond Johansen, secretary of the Labour Party. They were upstaged by seven-year-old Sakaria Hussain, though, who claimed before the crowd in front of the Parliament that “those who kill children and claim they are muslims have perhaps forgotten that our prophet was especially fond of children.”