Monday 23 April 2018

First victim buried far away from home

Richard Alleyne in Nesodden

NORWAYwas supposed to be a haven for Bano Rashid and her family, away from the troubles in their homeland of Iraq. But yesterday she was laid to rest in a country that turned out to be anything but safe; the first victim of Anders Behring Breivik to be buried.

Almost a week after the massacre, the funeral of the 18-year-old former refugee, held in a small Lutheran church on a remote hill, became the focus of a nation's grief. She was one of 68 victims on Utoya island. Hundreds of people were at the 19th century wooden chapel on the island of Nesodden, a 25-minute ferry ride from Oslo; most had to stand outside on the hillside and listen to the ceremony on a loudspeaker.

The poignant ceremony spanned two countries, two cultures and two religions. The imam, Ghulam Abbas, stood side by side with the Lutheran priest, the Rev Anne Marit Tronvik. They told how fun-loving Bano combined all that was good in Norway and her native Kurdistan.

Ms Tronvik said: "This country has been struck by an awful, terrible tragedy.

"There are many people here today who share this enormous grief.

Among the tears there was some light relief. Fittingly for a girl who was said to be "always happy", Charlie Chaplin's song 'Smile' was played.

Then the Lord's Prayer was recited, before the coffin draped in the Kurdish flag was brought to a corner of the graveyard that had been specially consecrated for a Muslim burial. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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