A Muslim man who organised a supportive ‘human shield’ around a Jewish synagogue has admitted he believed in Jewish conspiracy theories as recently as 2009.
Ali Chishti gave a speech at an debate in 2009 where he questioned whether Jewish people had advance knowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
He now describes his comments at the time as “outrageous” and says his views on community relations had been on a journey.
“I have reflected some state of affairs since then. I was quite angry at the time. After that meeting I discussed Islam part, and I eventually got a nuanced picture of the whole," he told the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang.
In March 2009 Mr Chisti addressed a debate organised by the Norwegian liberal politician Abid Raja.
“Jews are a small group, but everyone knows that they have a lot of power,” he said at the time, according to the newspaper.
“There were several thousand Jews away from work in the World Trade Center, and why there were more Jews in Mumbai when Pakistani terrorists attacked than usual?”
The speech he gave was titled “Why I have Jews and gays” – though Mr Chisti says he did not choose its title.
In the last few years Mr Chisti’s views appear to have changed. He established the Facebook group ‘Urett Avsløres’ or ‘Injustice Revealed’, which organised the solidarity demonstration in support of the Jewish community at the Synagogue.
He confirmed to the same Norwegian newspaper that he had made the speech and that he was ashamed of what he had said at the time.
Over the weekend hundreds of of Norwegian Muslims formed a human shield around the main synagogue in the country’s capital.
Over 1,000 Muslims chanted “No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia” as they formed what they called a “ring of peace” around the Jewish place of worship.
The demonstration was called in reaction to an attack on a synagogue in neighbouring Denmark by a Danish-born Muslim.
Ervin Kohn, a Jewish religious leader in Oslo, told the JTA news agency that he believed the ‘ring of peace’ initiative was “extremely positive” and that it would help build stronger relationships between ethnic groups in Norway.
Other activists questioned Mr Chisti’s involvement, however.Reuse content