COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Hundreds of people on Friday attended the Islamic burial of the gunman who killed two people in twin shootings in Copenhagen last weekend.
Omar El-Hussein, 22, was placed in an unmarked grave in the Muslim cemetery in Broendby, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, watched by around 500 people, mostly young men wearing thick black jackets against the cold and rain.
El-Hussein, a Danish citizen of Palestinian origin, has been identified by police as the gunman who shot dead two people — 55-year-old filmmaker Finn Noergaard and 37-year-old Dan Uzan, a volunteer Jewish security guard — in the Danish capital last weekend.
Five police officers were also injured in the dual attacks that took place at an event featuring a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Muhmammad and the city’s main synagogue during a bat mitzvah celebration.
Before the burial, a short ceremony was held at a Copenhagen mosque following Friday prayers.
A man of east African origin, who refused to give his name, told AFP about the ceremony: “There were a lot of young people that you don’t normally see there… because they knew Omar. Some of them were gang members.
“They are my brothers too because they believe in Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, but their lifestyle doesn’t have a lot to do with Islam,” he said.
Copenhagen’s Muslim community was divided ahead of the funeral.
A spokesman for the Danish Islamic Burial Fund objected to El-Hussein being buried at a cemetery run by his group.
“My concern is over extremist attitudes and actions on both sides,” Ahmet Deniz told the Jyllands Posten newspaper ahead of the burial.
The funeral organizer, Kasem Said Ahmad, also from the Islamic Burial Fund, rejected claims that large numbers attending the funeral could be interpreted as support for the alleged gunman.
“It is a support for the family, not for him,” he told Jyllands Posten.
Denmark has been left in shock after the shootings in Copenhagen which targeted a meeting on free speech and Islam and the capital’s main synagogue.
El-Hussein had reportedly been radicalized during a two-year stay in prison for stabbing a man. He was released just two weeks before the killings.
The attacks have prompted parallels with the Islamist attacks in Paris last month, in which 17 people died.