On Tuesday, Norway will mark two years since the terror attack on the Al-Noor mosque in Bærum

Al-Noor Islamic CentrePhoto: Irfan Mushtaq / Heiko Junge / NTB

On Tuesday, August 10, it will be two years since the right-wing extremist terrorist Philip Manshaus shot and killed his step-sister Johanne before attacking the Al-Noor mosque in Bærum.

“There will be a minute of silence to remember Johanne, several ministers will visit us, and there will be a number of speeches,” communications manager Waheed Ahmed at Al-Noor Islamic Center at Skui in Bærum said.

The family of the murdered Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen said it would be participating in the event, and the mosque is pleased that they want to participate.

“There is no doubt that it is tough for them to be there,” Ahmed said.

A tree will also be planted in memory of Johanne in Løkkehaven in Bærum, and on the 10th, her mother will take part in an inspection to choose where the tree will be planted.

Labor Party (AP) deputy leader Hadia Tajik will participate in the memorial service. Three ministers will represent the government: Minister of Finance Jan Tore Sanner (H), who himself is from Bærum, Minister of Education and Integration Guri Melby (V), and Minister of Culture Abid Raja (V).

“We think that is very positive. They see that the work is important and that when right-wing extremism is growing, we must stand together to prevent it and take action,” Ahmed said.

Foundation and knowledge center

He also talked about the Foundation August 10 (Stiftelsen 10. August), which was established to make sure that society learns from the experience. A knowledge center will be ready in mid-2022.

 “We must turn the pain into something good. We must have a platform where one can discuss this and have some headspace, and work to prevent radicalization and hatred across nationalities, religions, orientations and so on.”

Ahmed talked about the cooperation with local authorities, especially the police and Bærum Municipality. In addition, the July 22 center and Utøya participate in the work with the mentioned foundation.

Overpowered the attacker

On the afternoon of August 10, 2019, 17-year-old Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen was shot and killed by her stepbrother Philip Manshaus in their shared childhood home at Eiksmarka in Bærum.

Then Manshaus drove to the Al-Noor Mosque in Skui on the opposite side of the municipality. There he entered with firearms but was quickly stopped by the few people who were in the mosque. Two of them, Muhammad Rafiq and Mohammad Iqbal, later received the Medal for Noble Deed for overpowering Manshaus.

On June 11, 2020, Manshaus was sentenced to 21 years in prison with a minimum of 14 years for the murder of his step-sister and the attempted terror act against the mosque.

Still not back to normal

Life is still not back to normal in the Al-Noor Mosque. The work has been delayed by the corona pandemic, where there have been major restrictions on the number of people who can gather in various places, including houses of worship.

“We have not been able to gather members and make children, young people, and adults feel at home and safe in the mosque again,” Ahmed said.

In the past, the mosque was open, and the door was often ajar. The locals frequently used the car park outside as it is close to hiking areas in Vestmarka. Ahmed admits that mosque-goers are still extra observant if an unknown car parks there.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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