Archive for December, 2006

Muslims Take A Public Stand Against Ahmadinejad’s Denial Of The Holocaust

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006
Judith Jensen of www.educationalsolutions.org asked if I would contribute to her collection ofMuslim Leaders’ Statements Against Iran President’s Conference Denying Nazi Holocaust” (click on “Collected Responses” to see these letters). Here is my contribution:

Mr. Ahmadinejad called a conference to question the historical reality of the European mass murder of the Jews in order to make a point about restrictions of freedom of speech and the press in Europe. I deplore his decision to do so, as I deplore the Danish cartoons to which he was reacting. I completely believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe in good manners. I draw the attention of those interested to the heartfelt analysis of this question in the blog of my associate Sarah Swick: “Freedom of Expression Denial.”
Responding to the bad taste of those who insulted the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with the bad taste of denying the suffering of European Jewry is one more example of the truth that two wrongs do not make a right. Attempting to use the fact of the Holocaust to justify the persecution and disenfranchisement of the Palestinians is yet another example. As Rabbi Yisroel Feldman rightly observed in his address to the conference in question (http://www.nkusa.org/activities/Speeches/2006Iran-Feldman.cfm):
“No matter how we may debate some of the details of what was done to the Jews of Europe there is no doubt that they were treated brutally and that this brutality included all men, women and children. The Jews were physically attacked and murdered. Their possessions and homes were taken. They were shipped across Europe like animals jammed into cattle cars with little or no food and water. Millions died. And many of these were defenseless women and children. These are facts. The worldwide Jewish community is by and large descendants of those who survived this horrible hell….
However, there is also no moral justification for using these events to dispossess and occupy another people who have nothing whatsoever to do with what was done in Europe. Let Europe make amends for what took place if they so desire, not the Palestinians.
I pray that all people of good will unite in the resolve to set aside quarrels about the the scope of past atrocities in order to unite in the struggle against current ones.
May God grant you all good things!
Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, President
Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (12/22/06)

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

But Gates won’t talk as to what it is:

·        Iraq Strikes Deal With US On War Strategy (AFP)

No death sentence is possible:

·        4 Marines Charged In Haditha Killings: Deaths of Iraqi Civilians Also Lead to Dereliction Counts Against 4 Officers (Washington Post)

“With US prestige crippled by the war, regional actors are bypassing the West to forge partnerships and find solutions on their own”:

·        Mideast Leaders Seek Their Own Solutions for Region (Christian Science Monitor)

Refugees insist that Chad is more dangerous than Sudan:

·        Darfur Refugees Reject UN Bid to Relocate (Christian Science Monitor)

The constitutionally authorized caretaker is facing unspecified “criminal charges” and the late dictator’s alleged “illegitimate son” plans to replace him:

·        Death Of Turkmenistan’s Leader Creates Power Vacuum (Christian Science Monitor)

As Bush puts his chips on al-Hakim to counter al-Sadr, Sistani, staying out of any political office, remains the main influence in Iraq:

·        Shiite Clerics’ Rivalry Deepens In Fragile Iraq (Washington Post)

What really happened at Beit Hanoun? Israel makes sure we won’t know:

·        Israel Blocks Another UN Fact-Finding Mission (Jerusalem Fund)

Ritter and Hersh explore the next move of the architects of the conflict between civilizations:

·        Target Iran: Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter and Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh on White House Plans for Regime Change (Democracy NOW!)

Regime change in Syria anyone?

·        US Confirms Backing Assad Opposition (Jerusalem Post)

 

“Freedom of Expression Denial”

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Recent debates have swirled over an Iranian conference characterized as “denying the genocide” of the Holocaust.  Moreover, the Iranian president, Ahmedinejad, has been repeatedly quoted as calling the Holocaust a myth.  Actually, Ahmadinejad called the conference questioning the number of people killed in the Holocaust mainly as a means of challenging boasts about the freedom of expression in Europe. 

Most histories describe the number of people killed in the Holocaust as 6 million. Some historians would dispute this claim saying that it is exaggerated to provide a stronger case for the existence of the Zionist State.  What is missing on both sides of the argument is the value of each individual life.  Whether 6 million, 1 million, ten, or one, the murder of innocent civilians whether in Europe under the Nazis, in Palestine, Iraq, Africa, etc. is a crime, deserves justice, and should not be belittled. 

I don’t know how many were brutally murdered in the Holocaust – that question is in the domain of historians. Yet, historians in Europe who dare to investigate the topic are being jailed and their expression repressed.  David Irving, who ‘coincidently’ was unexpectedly released from prison after the Iranian conference, is one such historian.  He was sentenced to three years in an Austrian prison for “denying the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz.”  Again, I am not a historian, but I have been to Auschwitz and find it unbelievable for anyone to deny the existence of a gas chamber there.  However, should a man really be sentenced to prison for being a bad historian?

Moreover, I find it hypocritical for the Iranians to hold a conference aimed at exposing the lack of European freedom of expression, while in Iran freedom of expression remains stifled.  Recently students have braved government restrictions by protesting the decreasing freedom of expression in Iran.  “”Freedom of speech is being restricted more than before in Iran,” says Iran’s Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi.”  And students are complaining of being expelled from universities and professors forced to retire for expressing opinions counter to the government line. 

Isn’t it, then, hypocritical on both the Iranian and European sides to charge the other with denying freedom of expression?

The Holocaust was a tragic and horrible taint on human history, but certainly it was not the first, perhaps was not the worst, and unfortunately was not the last.  We say “never again,” but it continues to happen with every rape and death in Africa, Iraq, Palestine, etc.  What I find most disheartening is that the legacy of the Holocaust victims has been tarnished with the death of every innocent Palestinian.  But, for this, we must be careful to blame Zionism and its supporters, and not Judaism, a respected Abrahamic faith.

-Sarah Swick, Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (12/21/06)

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

“Is this the prophet of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims?”

Virginia Congressmen refuses to apologize for bigoted and ignorant letter:

In protest to Iranian conference, Muslim leaders visit the Holocaust Museum:

The regime that came to power on the back of students now stifles student activism:

Reports of war breaking out in Somalia, with the potential of dragging in neighboring countries:

News and Analysis (12/20/06)

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

“Religious harmony is on full display in a year when Christmas and the Muslim holiday of Tabaski fall within days of each other:”

Hamas spokesman dismisses al-Qaida criticisms and defends electoral process:

Move is seen as an attempt to boost Fatah over its Hamas rivals in the threatened election:

·        Israel May Release Tax Funds To Abbas: Sources (Reuters)

Fatah says it will stick to the truce despite blaming Hamas for two police deaths:

·        Gaza Truce Holds Despite Violence (BBC)

Israel’s barrier to education:

·        The New Walls of Jerusalem: Part Two • The Long Walk To Class (Christian Science Monitor)

Islamists say they will not cease fire as long as Ethiopian troops remain:

·        Heavy fighting erupts in Somalia (BBC)

News and Analysis (12/19/06)

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Prison-break: with the help of security agent, former Iraqi minister charged with corruption ‘freed’ from Green Zone jail:

Cleric fighting for religious equality dies in Bahrain

Surprise! US blames Sadr Army as “the gravest danger to the security and stability of Iraq:”

Muslim couple suffered “the price when government attempts to hide behind a veil of secrecy:”

Turkish biographer charged with insulting Ataturk acquitted

Muslim woman finds courage in the US military and peace in Islam:

News and Analysis (12/18/06)

Monday, December 18th, 2006

“Every time my wife insisted we leave Iraq, I used to tell her to have hope. Then when the first mortar fell near my house I knew that death was knocking at my door.”

Editorial:US financial service company buys port operations in US from Dubai Ports World, “clos[ing] the chapter on one of the most embarrassing fits of isolationist hysteria in recent U.S. history.”

Indonesian woman finds empowerment through reciting the Qur’an in public:

“You can never have democracy if you can buy justice”

EU Report: “Muslims feel that acceptance by society is increasingly premised on ‘assimilation’ and the assumption that they should lose their Muslim identity”

Days after complaining about US attacks, 30 Iraqi Red Crescent workers were kidnapped from its headquarters by men posing as Interior Ministry’s special commandos:

News and Analysis (12/16/06)

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Red Crescent in Iraq complains about treatment from US troops:

Egyptian police arrest “at least 140 others Thursday after a protest by uniformed students raised fears the Islamic political group is creating a military wing.”

Women find little freedom in the ‘Free Iraq’

“This administration is unwilling to admit its mistakes and still tries to conceal them”

Released Guantanamo prisoners describe being forced into the Taliban and then sold to America:

Can it really be called a “national election” if the State chooses the “less than 1%” of the population who are allowed to vote?

News and Analysis (12/14/06)

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Zogby interprets result as supportive of Baker-Hamilton analysis of U.S. foreign policy:

The pretended boycott is exposed as an embargo as Israel prevents Haniya from bringing desperately needed funds into Palestine:

Some argue that only comprehensive negotiations can be productive:

A year after its uphill success in parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood leading members and students are arrested in dawn raids:

Unanimous decision allows Israeli politicians to define terrorist organizations and them kill their members:

News and Analysis (12/13/06)

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Court finds that “Samardzic took part in persecution of Muslim population, forced sexual slavery, rape and other crimes against humanity”:

·        Bosnian Serb Gets 24 Years in Jail for War Crimes (Reuters)

Another sign of a Palestinian civil war?

·        Prominent Hamas Member Gunned Down In Gaza As Unrest Grows (AFP)

“Millions of civilians are paying the price for nearly four years of unkept promises and empty commitments”–Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch:

·        U.N. Rights Body Agrees Inquiry Mission for Darfur (Reuters)