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Thursday, December 27, 2018

14th Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides

14th Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides
Approx. 3:30 PM Sunday, January 27, 2019, | First Event at 2:00 PM
Jewish Muslim Perspectives on Mysticism at Islamic Society of the Washington Area
2701 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring, MD 20905 

The Center for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress are deeply committed to education and regularly bring Americans together to learn about each other’s joys and suffering. It is an initiative to build responsible civic societies, where justice and co-existence are our values.

The 14th Annual Holocaust and Genocides event is an effort to stand with all the men, women and children who have endured the apprehension of Holocaust, genocides, massacres, bombs, annihilation, land mines, hunger, rape, torture, occupation, and inhuman brutality.

The least we can do in the process of healing is to acknowledge everyone's pain in one voice. We have begun the process of coming together as one people and stand with each other, we are indeed one world and only humanity, and caring for each other bring safety and peace to all of us. I cannot be safe if the people around me are not, and I will not have peace if people around me don't. It is in my interest to seek a peaceful world for one and all.

There is a shameless cruelty in us, either we shy away from facing or refuse to acknowledge the sufferings of others, worrying that it will devalue our own or somehow it amounts to infidelity to our cause. We cannot justify massacres arrogantly believing that the victims deserved it or asked for it.

We have to learn and to acknowledge and reflect upon the terrible things we have inflicted upon each other and have to commit to ourselves to resist the temptations to be prejudiced and stereotype others. We cannot demand peace unless we are peaceful ourselves.

This particular date was adopted by the sixtieth session of the United Nations on November 21, 2005, “Resolves that the United Nations will designate 27 January as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.”  Our events are scheduled on Sundays to accommodate the Jewish community’s presence.

Our safety hinges on the safety of others around us, and it behooves us to work for the safety and security of others on this little planet. We have to be continuously aware of the Holocaust and Genocides and prepare us to avert such tragedies.

We are working on initiating a course on tolerance education, so one day; we all can learn to have a heart that opens to the pain of every human, yes, we can do that.

Bringing people to understand the suffering of people has been my drive, I must say that through this program, many non-Jewish people have come to know about the Holocaust for the first time. You can see pictures people from Atheist to Zoroastrians and everyone in between has been a part of this event. Moreover, everyone has shared a prayer in the past commemorations. We have to create the awareness to get people to become activists and speak up and Never say again.


Program: Getting Closer to God: Jewish and Muslim Perspectives on Mysticism

Gabrial Abasi will speak on Selfless service and commitment to mysticism
Herb Levy is a teacher of Kabbalah
Andra Baylus will speak on the Sufi-inspired spiritual leader Meher Baba

Organized by: Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society

SECOND EVENT AT - Approx 3:30 PM
Program: 14th Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides

Syrian Refugee Crisis
Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing - Bob Marro,
Uyghur Chinese Muslims - Omer Kanat
Crimean Tartars - Walter Ruby
Organized by the Center for Pluralism

Supporting Organizations:

  1. Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society- http://Jids.org
  2. Islamic Society of the Washington Area - http://iswamd.org/
  3. World Muslim Congress - http://worldmuslimcongress.org/
  4. JAMAAT - Jews Muslims and Allies acting together
  5. Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
  6. Muslim Institute - Interfaith Studies & Understanding
  7. Uyghur Human Rights Project ( UHRP) -  UHRP.ORG
  8. Uyghur-American Association (UAA)  -  UAA.org
  9. World Uyghur Congress (WUC) -  Uyghurcongress.org
  10. Great Truth 

The Center for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress are deeply committed to education and relentlessly pursue building cohesive societies where no human has to live in apprehension and fear of the other.

Mike Ghouse
(214) 325-1916

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, author, interfaith wedding officiant, executive director of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.  More at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Holocaust denial is a serious moral affront

Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq

Economist; Islamic finance expert; Educational management and consultancy

This post is particularly meant for my fellow Muslims. Others can deal with their perspective and conscience.
20th century became known, among other things, as the Century of Genocides. The number of casualty is placed around 187 million people globally, and no continent spared. As part of the humanity, we all should learn more about it, especially to prevent any such future genocides or its lesser version, ethnic cleansing. An excellent work is Samuel Totten, et al. Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts, 2004.
I am not aware of any genocide that has not been denied by some others. I have seen a genocide myself in 1971 in former East Pakistan, which is denied by some. Like any other genocide, denying the Holocaust or Nazi genocide of the Jews in particular is denying part of our humanity. One can talk about exaggeration, one can talk about specific numbers, one can talk about all the details, but Holocaust as a genocide particularly directed at the Jews is as true as the WWII. Shall we deny and claim that WWII also did not happen and it was just an invented historical narrative? As Muslims themselves are positioned now to be at the receiving end of the White supremacist, right-wing Islamophobia, let's not fall into the trap of the White supremacists, the perpetrators of the Holocaust and then the leading deniers of the same.
There are plenty of material used and presented by Holocaust deniers, but please do study and find if there has been any genocide that was not denied or questioned by some. People often confuse about the details with the event itself. Our conscience should prevent us from such blanket denial. Has Holocaust been used as a tool by some? Yes. Has it been used to cause persecution of others, especially by or on behalf of many victims of the Holocaust? Yes. But that should not cause us to deny the Holocaust itself.
Those who want to use Holocaust as a propaganda tool for the State of Israel also want to curtail the freedom of expression to challenge the Holocaust narrative. They want Holocaust denial to be illegal and a prosecutable offense. Criminalizing Holocaust denial is inappropriate and counter-productive, reinforcing the conspiracy theories further. Factually, such denial does not hold. Making such denial illegal only weakens the Holocaust narrative.
But more importantly, for the humanity Holocaust denial is a serious moral affront to all of us as part of the humanity and for Muslims it is inconsistent with the Islamic imperative too as affirmed in the Qur'an below. Let others deal with their prejudices, we are accountable before God for ours.
As Muslims, let's remind ourselves. "O ye who believe! stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, and LET NOT THE HATRED OF OTHERS TO YOU MAKE SWERVE TO WRONG AND DEPART FROM JUSTICE. BE JUST: that is next to piety: and fear God. For God is well-acquainted with all that ye do." [The Qur'an 5/Al-Ma'ida/8]