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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]