Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Muslims, Jews and Christians Gather At Auschwitz To Honor Holocaust Victims

You won't find Holocaust deniers solely in the Muslim religion, there have been Christians who have been just as eager to deny the fact that millions of Jews (and others) were systematically exterminated in Nazi Germany during the the early to mid 1940s. Yes, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the most vocal of deniers in the Muslim world, but he has good company in the Vatican. You might remember the huge scandal when British Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson claimed, back in late 2008, that only 200,000 to 300,000 thousand Jews (at the most) perished during the genocide, and insinuated that there were no gas chambers in the camps?

In spite of definitive proof to the contrary, he's not the only one who believes that men, women and children were stripped and then gassed to death. There are a slew of notable holocaust deniers who believe, in varied degrees of denial, that the holocaust never occurred; or at least not to the extent it did. I'm not sure where they think all the horrific footage and photographs came from, but it doesn't seem to matter.

So it was quite heartening to read that 200 or so Jews, Christians and Muslims gathered together at the Auschwitz death camp on Tuesday to honor those massacred during the Holocaust. With prayers in English, French, Yiddish and Arabic those attending wanted to send a clear message to those like Ahmadinejad who deny the Holocaust ever occurred.

The Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Mustafa Ceric said:

"We must teach our young people in mosques, churches and synagogues about what happened here. This awful place should stand as a reminder to all people that intolerance and lack of understanding between people can result in... such places as Auschwitz."

Unfortunately, because of the political upheaval in certain Middle Eastern countries representatives from places like Egypt were unable to attend, but they had planned on coming.

And the organizers had good reason to include the Muslim contingency in the interfaith ceremony:

"We chose to give priority to representatives of the Arab and Muslim world and the reason for this is clear," said Anne-Marie Revcolevschi of the Aladdin Project which works to build ties between Jews and Muslims.

"It is mainly from some of these countries that the speeches and documents come that serve as a vehicle for denial (of the Holocaust), hatred and anti-Semitism," she said, in comments delivered ahead of the visit to Auschwitz.

"There also exists in these countries currents and people who do not support these outbursts of hatred. We think the time has come to gather them and to let their voices be heard."

One can only hope it eventually makes a difference, but there is such deep-seated anti-Semitic sentiment that exists across the globe (and not just in the Arab/Muslim world), that one has to wonder if anything could make a difference, since so much of it is rooted in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

It's an honorable endeavour to try and build bridges between the religions, but with the rise in Islamic fundamentalism, is that going to be possible? Those Muslim clerics who have dared to speak out have often been threatened themselves.

At least they made the effort, but it won't change Ahmadinejad's mind.

1 comment:

WomanHonorThyself said...

Never forget..