Muslims Visit Holocaust
DC: On Wednesday, December 20, Washington-area Muslim leaders
met at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to encourage humanity
to take the lessons of the Holocaust to reaffirm a commitment
to preserving human dignity for all people. Muslim American
leaders -- including Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Imam Mohamed
Magid, and MPAC board member Dr. Hassan Ibrahim -- called
for remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust and commemorated
the struggles endured by survivors.
SEE: "Muslims Remember Holocaust Victims at Memorial
Museum" (Washington Post, 12/21/06)
The visit was prompted by a recent conference in Iran attended
by many who deny the Holocaust occurred.
Sarah Bloomfield, director of the museum, said Muslim groups
have visited the museum in the past but the visit Wednesday
was an unprecedented "act of solidarity" from Muslims
on the issue of Holocaust denial.
"I speak on behalf of American Muslims, all of us who
believe that we have to learn from the lessons of history
and to commit ourselves: 'Never again,'" said Magid,
who postponed a trip to Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj in
order to visit the museum. "The lessons that should be
learned are that many people have lost their lives because
of hatred and bigotry and that we have to stand together committed
to work for love, mercy and humanity as one family."
At the event, Johanna Neumann, a Holocaust survivor, described
how Albanian Muslims saved her and her family from the Nazis.
She said Albania at the time was 85 percent Muslim and that
she and her family were protected by Muslims in their town.
"Everybody knew who we were, and nobody would have thought
of denouncing us," Neumann said.
Dr. Akbar Ahmad, an Islamic scholar from American University,
called the Holocaust "one of the low points in history."
Ahmad urged all people to condemn anti-Semitism and to equally
condemn widespread Islamophobia. He said anti-Semitism and
Islamophobia are linked: "To check one, we have to check
Ahmad and Magid were joined by leaders of organizations that
included MPAC, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and
the Arab-American Institute. The delegation lit candles in
memory of those who died and Imam Magid asked for a moment
of silence for those who suffered. As Muslims, it is important
to sympathize and grieve for those of all religions who have
suffered. The message of the event was aimed to honor, respect
and relate to the suffering of one another as a global community.
At its sixth annual convention this past weekend, MPAC officials
denounced attempts to question the authenticity of the number
of Jewish deaths in the Holocaust. Unimaginable crimes were
committed by the Nazis during World War II. Denying the pain
endured by millions of human beings only intensifies it.
Founded in 1988, MPAC is a public service agency working for
the civil rights of American Muslims, for the integration
of Islam into American pluralism, and for a positive, constructive
relationship between American Muslims and their representatives.