Norway has honoured two Muslim heroes who tackled a neo-Nazi gunmen at a mosque near Oslo last year.
Muhammad Rafiq, 66, and Mohammad Iqbal, who overpowered Philip Manshaus at the Al-Noor Mosque in Bærum, received the medals for noble deeds at the one-year anniversary of the attack.
The pair wrestled away the terrorist’s guns and prevented him from seriously hurting anybody.
Rafiq and Iqbal were awarded the medal at the Bærum Town Hall on Monday and were given their medials by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Iselin Nybo.
”When it mattered most, they averted what could have been a much worse attack on the mosque and prevented the loss of life.”, said Nybo. ”It is very rare that this medal is awarded, which shows how extraordinary the efforts of Rafiq and Iqbal are.”
The medal for noble deeds is awarded as a “reward for exhibiting honourable conduct by saving a human life or other similar deeds which has endangered the life of the rescuer.”
Muhammad Rafiq received the gold medal for having preformed an exceptionally outstanding rescue, while Mohammad Iqbal received the silver medal for his decisive efforts to overpower the perpetrator.
Two months ago Philip Manshaus, a 22 year old far-right extremist, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for killing his Chinese-born stepsister and then opening fire on the mosque.
He started shooting at the Al-Noor Islamic Centre in Baerum last August during Eid al-Adha celebrations.
Manshaus told the court he regretted not having caused more damage. He confessed to the acts but called them “emergency justice.”
Judge Annika Lindstroem of the Oslo District Court said Manshaus had plans to kill as many people as possible and set the mosque on fire.
She said he believed that “Europe is under attack from people of ethnic origin other than his own” and that “the white race is on the brink of extinction.”
The judge told the court he was mentally sane at the time of the attack. Investigators said they had found a photo of Adolf Hitler on his phone.
Lindstroem also said Manshaus was inspired by shootings in March 2019 in New Zealand, where a gunman targeted two mosques, killing 51 people.