Thursday, 23 February 2012

Muslims and the Holocaust Memorial Day

Back in 2007, BFTF was becoming very disturbed by the fact that the Muslim Council of Britain was boycotting the Holocaust Memorial Day.

Not only was this the wrong thing to do, it was hugely damaging to the Muslim Community in the UK.

BFTF decided to find out what the REAL views of the Muslim community were by conducting a survey in co-operation with a local mosque(see here) and found that over 85% of worshippers questioned WANTED the MCB to attend the HMD.

So BFTF was heartened to see a recent article by Mehdi Hasan in the New Statesmen where he says: "I yield to no one in my support for the Palestinian cause. But denying or ignoring the Holocaust does nothing to advance that cause. Palestinian suffering is not reduced by belittling the mass murder of Europe's Jews."

and, encouragingly, he states that "the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have dropped their boycott over the past three years and I'm happy to report that the MCB not only attended one of the main HMD ceremonies in London yesterday evening, but deputy general secretary Dr Shuja Shafi was asked to light one of the candles."

However, he closes by noting how "the whole British Muslim community must do much more to remember the Holocaust -- whether through hosting events at our mosques or sending our children to visit Auschwitz."

Auschwitz concentration camp, arrival of Hungarian Jews, Summer 1944

Despite there being a significant Muslim community in the UK, the stories of the many Muslims who saved Jewish lives during WW2 has remained largely untold. To try and redress this a little, the names below are some of the Muslims who, often at great personal risk, sheltered or otherwise helped Jews to escape capture by Nazi forces. Many of these can be found in a booklet by entitled "The Role of Righteous Muslims.” published by Faith Matters. The director of the organisation, Fiyaz Mughal, comments that “We’re looking for bridging points, and we thought this fits the perspective of mutual understanding and shared history.” and the he hopes it will demonstrate that “life is not black and white, straight and narrow.”

Abdol-Hossein Sardari,
Abdol-Hossein Sardari, a junior Iranian diplomat in Paris, 1940 helped some 2,000 Iranian Jews flee France. Mr Sardari neither sought nor received much recognition for his efforts in his lifetime and, sadly, died lonely in a bedsit in Croydon, south London, in 1981, having lost his ambassador's pension and Tehran properties in the Iranian revolution.

Khaled Abdul Wahab(see also here)

Shaykh Taieb el-Okbi

Si Ali Sakkat

The Arab Man

The Arab Neighbour

Hamza Abdul Jalil

Mustafa and Zejneba Hardaga, Izet and Bachriya Hardaga, Ahmed Sadik

Roza Sober-Dragoje and Zekira Besrević

Fatima Kanapatskaiya and her daughter Aysha (Anna) Trofimova-Kanapatskaiya

Selahattin Ulkumen

Borici Family

Hoti Family

Shatoka Alima

Kurtijeva Aishe

Kurtijev Adzhikadyr

Kurtijev Dzhafer

By 1943, some 600-1,800 Jews had found refuge in Muslim majority Albania, seeking sactuary from persecution in Germany or elsewher in Europe. Following German occupation in 1943, the government refused to turn over lists of Jews residing in the country to the Nazis - on the contrary, many government agencies provided Jewish families with fake documentation to allow to hide in the general population. These are some of their stories . . .

Nuro Hoxha

Ali Sheqer Pashkaj

Destan and Lime Balla

Besim and Aishe Kadiu

Brothers Hamid and Xhemal Veseli

Iamge Sources : Hungarian Jews

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