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Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Heartfelt Thank You to the Muslim Delegation

We speak quite a bit here on Wake up America about Extemsist Muslims and we ask often that moderate Muslims rise up and make statements condemning those that would pervert their religion to kill.... Well they have.

We also often point out that all Muslims should not be painted with the same brush as the extremists and say that there are many peace loving Muslims, in fact, the majority of Muslims are peace loving and only wish to practice their religion freely.

Days after the Iranian meeting that denied the Holocaust, a group of Muslims gathered at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate Jewish suffering under the Nazis. KUDOS and a heartfelt Thank You for making such a statement.

Local Muslim leaders lit candles yesterday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate Jewish suffering under the Nazis, in a ceremony held just days after Iran had a conference denying the genocide.

American Muslims "believe we have to learn the lessons of history and commit ourselves: Never again," said Imam Mohamed Magid of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, standing before the eternal flame flickering from a black marble base that holds dirt from Nazi concentration camps.

Three Holocaust survivors stood with Muslims they called their great Muslim friends to condemn the "outrage" in Iran.

Major American Muslim and Arab-American organizations have condemned the Iran conference. The Muslim speakers at yesterday's ceremony did not mention that event but called for recognition of the suffering Jews experienced in the Holocaust and condemned religious hatred. Asked afterward why they did not single out Iran, the Muslim leaders said the problem was broader than the recent conference.

"The issue here is: There might be somebody from X and Y country, a Muslim, saying the same thing," Magid said. If anyone wants to make Holocaust denial an Islamic cause, he said, "we want to say to them: You cannot use our name."

These people made a brave decision and a decisive statement in standing there, next to the Holocaust survivors... in fact, every Muslim orginization that condemned the Iran conference should be applauded for doing so.

After the speeches yesterday, Bloomfield invited the visitors to light candles to remember the Holocaust victims and Muslims who rescued some of the besieged Jews. One by one, the guests silently shuffled along the wallside bank of candles: the tall imam in his round Muslim cap, known as a kufi; a woman in a Muslim head scarf; Muslim men in business suits; and three elderly women in pantsuits from the D.C. suburbs, survivors of the genocide.

One of them, Johanna Neumann, recounted at the ceremony how Muslims saved her Jewish family. Members of her family had fled from Germany to Albania, where Muslim families sheltered them and hid their identity during the Nazi occupation.

"Everybody knew who we were. Nobody would even have thought of denouncing us" to the Nazis, said the tiny 76-year-old Silver Spring resident. "These people deserve every respect anybody can give them."

While Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and states he wishes to wipe Israel off the map, these fine Muslims stand up besides the Holocaust survivors, showing solidarity in spirit and in soul and showing that the Jews and the Muslims, not only can, but in many cases do, get along and showno hatred for each other, but in contrast, they show love to each other.

I hope Ahmadinejad chokes on that.

The idea for the ceremony originated with Magid, whose Sterling mosque has been active in interfaith efforts. After hearing radio reports about the Iranian meeting, "I said to myself, 'We have to, as Muslim leaders . . . show solidarity with our fellow Jewish Americans,' " Magid recalled after the speeches.

He contacted Akbar Ahmed, an American University professor active in inter-religious dialogue, who asked the museum to hold the ceremony.

"It's important that the world knows there are Muslims who don't believe in this [Holocaust denial]," Ahmed said after the ceremony. Also in the delegation were representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Bloomfield, the museum director, noted that Magid delayed his trip to Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage by a day to attend the ceremony.

I cannot remember anything in the last few years that has brought a lump to my throat as this story has done. My Jewish mother, may she rest in peace, is smiling upon these fine examples of peaceful, loving Muslim people.

Again, a heartfelt thank you.

My previous posts on the Holocaust can be found all on one page here.

Others discussing this:
The Moderate Voice.
Secular Blasphemy.
Bring it On.

I will be updating with others that show they noticed this wonderful statement.
Blue Crab Boulevard.