We have been informed that the Norwegian August 14 committee lead by the politician Aamir Sheikh earlier in July 2021 nominated three religious’ leaders as recipients of the Bridge Builder Award, one of whom is Rabbi Michael Melchior, an self-proclaimed Zionist. Melchior was Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister between 2001 and 2002, while Ariel Sharon, a war criminal responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacres, was prime minister. Melchior is an outspoken Zionist who supports the creation of the occupying entity of Israel.

It is a fact that the occupying forces were established in 1948 through decades of warfare in Palestine, where a people already lived, the Palestinian people. In the vacuum that arose after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, (especially) European Jews were moved to Palestine, with the blessing of the British. After World War II, this increased drastically, as Europe, burdened by its bad conscience regarding its indifference to the suffering of the Jews under the Nazis, clearly wanted to give the Jews a homeland.

The fact that Palestinians had to pay the price was not cared for and they were quickly expelled from their homeland – and many were killed and massacred, crimes that have never been investigated or not often talked about. It is ethically and morally reprehensible to award a Bridge Builder Award to a Zionist who supports and promotes occupation of Palestine, an occupation driven by Zionist ideology that has led to massacres, war crimes and expulsion of innocent Palestinians. Talking about peace and reconciliation while at the same time supporting a brutal occupation only reflects double standards.

The fact that this Bridge Building Award comes from the August 14 committee (14. AUGUTSKOMITEEN NORGE Org. No. 886 250 312) which was established in 2003 to celebrate Pakistan’s National Day gives the whole Pakistani population in Norway a headshake. From its day of independence and until now, Pakistan has had a clear stance on the issue of Palestine and throughout the history condemned the occupying entity of Israel, nor has Pakistan recognized this self-proclaimed state built on the blood of innocent human beings - the Palestinians.

We strongly condemn this award and urge the August 14 committee to reconsider its decision and withdraw this award. Finally, it is important to point out that the August 14 committee does not represent Pakistan or Pakistanis based in Norway and is solely responsible for this award and their other activities and award ceremonies. One specific political party also seems to be promoted and is dominant on the celebrations of Pakistan's National Day, which we find strange, and we ask His Excellency Mr. Zaheer Pervaiz, the Ambassador of Pakistan in Norway, to shed a light on this issue and evaluate its position in relation to this committee and its activities.

Best regards,

SNP Samfunnsengasjerte norsk-pakistanere       
PTI Norway Eagle Panel
Pak Norway Forum                                                         
Islamabad Rawalpindi Welfare Society Norway
Pakistansk Forening Norge                                          
VNP - Verdensengasjerte Norskpakistanere
Tehreek-e-Kashmir Norway                                        
Inter Kulturell Kvinne Gruppe (IKKG)      
Returrett komite i Norge                                              
Tayyab Choudry, daglig leder IHSG     
MINORG (interesseorganisasjon for minoriteter i Norge)      
NorPak Media Norway               

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