|Posted on Thursday, December 21, 2006 - 10:48 pm: ||
Arabs were cheerleaders and enablers of the Final Solution.
MAHMOUD Ahmadinejad has an impeccable sense of timing. Just a week after the Iraq Study Group recommended a heart-to-heart with him, the president of Iran convened a conference in Tehran to examine whether the Holocaust really occurred. The answer from such "scholars" as David Duke, the notorious former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, was a resounding no.
On one level, Ahmadinejad's embrace of Holocaust denial might seem surprising. A man who has repeatedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" surely has no problem with the murder of Jews. You might expect him to adopt the position espoused by the Egyptian newspaper Al Akhbar, which a few years ago ran an editorial praising Adolf Hitler ("of blessed memory") and complaining only that "his revenge on [the Jews] was not enough."
Or you might expect Ahmadinejad to take the far more common line in the Muslim world, which is to admit that, sure, some Jews died, but it was a lot fewer than 6 million and, anyway, what's the big deal? A lot of Gentiles died too. What makes these Yids so special? This is the position taken by Arab "moderates" such as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose doctoral dissertation pooh-poohed the figure of 6 million dead Jews ("no one can verify this number") while expressing great concern that "the German people sacrificed 10 million" — implying that the killers suffered more than their victims.
Ahmadinejad does not hide behind such equivocations. He flatly calls the Holocaust a myth. But he is hardly a model of consistency. At the same time that he denies the Holocaust, Iran's president claims that Israel was established by the Europeans as penance for … the Holocaust. But why atone for something that didn't occur? Never mind. Ahmadinejad says that "if the Europeans are honest" in their claims about the Holocaust, "they should give some of their provinces in Europe … to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe."
This is the crux of the matter. In Ahmadinejad's view, shared by countless others across the Middle East, whatever the Nazis did is no business of theirs, so why inflict the "Zionist entity" on their region? It is only a small step from this position to claiming that Israel's destruction is justified.
POINTLESS though it may be to argue with a madman, it is worth noting that Muslims were not as blameless in the genocide of the Jews as Ahmadinejad and his ilk would have it. Arabs were, on a small scale, cheerleaders and enablers of the Final Solution. The most famous example was Haj Amin Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem (and uncle of Yasser Arafat), who took refuge in Berlin in World War II. A rabid Nazi, he personally lobbied Hitler to kill as many Jews as possible and even helped out by recruiting Bosnian Muslims to serve in the Waffen SS.
Robert Satloff, one of the world's smartest Arabists, reveals other links between the Arabs and the Holocaust in his groundbreaking new book, "Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach Into Arab Lands." He shows how the Nazis set up the machinery of death in North Africa. Although "only" 4,000 to 5,000 Jews died before the Allies liberated the area in 1943, many more were consigned to forced labor camps in hellish conditions.
"Arabs played a role at every level," Satloff wrote. "Some went door to door with the Germans, pointing out Jews for arrest. Others led Jewish workers on forced marches or served as overseers at labor camps."
The picture is not entirely one-sided because, although most Arabs were either apathetic or sympathetic to the Nazis, a small number helped their Jewish neighbors. Satloff uncovered lost tales of "righteous Gentiles," such as the wartime rulers of Morocco and Tunisia. And on the whole, he found that Arabs behaved no worse under German occupation than did Europeans.
But that isn't saying much because almost every country on the Continent was heavily complicit in the extermination of their Jewish populations. Satloff's research makes a mockery of Ahmadinejad's protestations that the Holocaust — if it occurred! — was someone else's responsibility. Individual Muslims were complicit in the horrors of the 1940s, even if, under foreign rule, they were not the primary culprits.
Even worse, while Europe has disowned its terrible history, the Nazis continue to be glorified in the Middle East. ("Mein Kampf" is a perennial bestseller in the region.) Nowhere else in the world is Holocaust denial so prevalent. Ahmadinejad deserves thanks for calling the world's attention to this pervasive sickness.
|Posted on Friday, December 22, 2006 - 05:42 am: ||
Muslims Mark Solidarity With Jews
Event Held Days After Iranian Meeting That Denied Genocide
By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 21, 2006; Page B05
Local Muslim leaders lit candles yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate Jewish suffering under the Nazis, in a ceremony held just days after Iran had a conference denying the genocide.
American Muslims "believe we have to learn the lessons of history and commit ourselves: Never again," said Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, standing before the eternal flame flickering from a black marble base that holds dirt from Nazi concentration camps.
Around the hexagonal room, candles glimmered under the engraved names of the death camps: Chelmno. Auschwitz-Birkenau. Majdanek.
"We stand here with three survivors of the Holocaust and my great Muslim friends to condemn this outrage in Iran," said Sara J. Bloomfield, the museum's director, addressing a bank of TV cameras in the room, known as the Hall of Remembrance.
The museum, she noted, holds "millions of pieces of evidence of this crime."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad organized last week's conference after Western countries protested his comment last year that the slaughter of 6 million Jews was a myth. The two-day meeting drew historical revisionists and such people as David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Major American Muslim and Arab-American organizations have condemned the Iran conference. The Muslim speakers at yesterday's ceremony did not mention that event but called for recognition of the suffering Jews experienced in the Holocaust and condemned religious hatred. Asked afterward why they did not single out Iran, the Muslim leaders said the problem was broader than the recent conference.
"The issue here is: There might be somebody from X and Y country, a Muslim, saying the same thing," Magid said. If anyone wants to make Holocaust denial an Islamic cause, he said, "we want to say to them: You cannot use our name."
Museum officials said a Muslim delegation had never before made such a public statement at the memorial building.
After the speeches yesterday, Bloomfield invited the visitors to light candles to remember the Holocaust victims and Muslims who rescued some of the besieged Jews. One by one, the guests silently shuffled along the wallside bank of candles: the tall imam in his round Muslim cap, known as a kufi; a woman in a Muslim head scarf; Muslim men in business suits; and three elderly women in pantsuits from the D.C. suburbs, survivors of the genocide.
One of them, Johanna Neumann, recounted at the ceremony how Muslims saved her Jewish family. Members of her family had fled from Germany to Albania, where Muslim families sheltered them and hid their identity during the Nazi occupation.
"Everybody knew who we were. Nobody would even have thought of denouncing us" to the Nazis, said the tiny 76-year-old Silver Spring resident. "These people deserve every respect anybody can give them."
The idea for the ceremony originated with Magid, whose Sterling mosque has been active in interfaith efforts. After hearing radio reports about the Iranian meeting, "I said to myself, 'We have to, as Muslim leaders . . . show solidarity with our fellow Jewish Americans,' " Magid recalled after the speeches.
He contacted Akbar Ahmed, an American University professor active in inter-religious dialogue, who asked the museum to hold the ceremony.
"It's important that the world knows there are Muslims who don't believe in this [Holocaust denial]," Ahmed said after the ceremony. Also in the delegation were representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
Bloomfield, the museum director, noted that Magid delayed his trip to Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage by a day to attend the ceremony.
"That's a pretty strong statement," she said.
The Holocaust victims expressed gratitude for the gesture by the Muslims.
"We could live together in peace if only more of these things were happening," said Halina Peabody, 74, a native of Poland who lives in Bethesda.
"America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads. And they need to be treated with respect." - GWB
After all, the Shoah did not start with ovens. It began with words of hate. - M.J. Rosenberg