Islam and Auschwitz

On January 27th, 2005, when others were commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Muslim Council of Britain abstained.

At the time, George Mason University’s History News Network website posted this from writer Melanie Phillips:

Countries around the world marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz yesterday – but the Muslim Council of Britain did not take part in the commemorations for reasons that belie an underlying anti-Semitism. The Muslim Council of Britain did not attend Britain’s Auschwitz commemoration in Westminster Hall, because, according to its Secretary-General Iqbal Sacranie, the event excluded “ongoing genocide and human rights abuses around the world and in the occupied territories of Palestine.”

Basic decency, fellow-feeling, and shared humanity would have suggested that someone within the Muslim British Council could have attended.

It was a hurtful, callous gesture.

Muslim anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial (or indifference) is a sobering contemporary phenomenon, and its implications need greater discussion.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to Islam and Auschwitz

  1. khairbakhsh says:

    This is not an Anti-Semitism show but realtity from the Islamic Council of Britain. Israel commiting attrocities like Halocaust and no one in the 60th anniversary organizers is critising Israel for this. Is there any need to remember the victims of Holocause while an another Holocaust is happening around us and in front of our eyes. Shame to all.

    ~Khair Bakhsh

  2. santitafarella says:


    Nazi attempts at genocide and “cleansing” of the German population (of Jews, the handicapped etc.) was a world historic tragedy, and we need to come together to commemorate such horrors—and express our determination to fight such occurrances wherever they happen—and not stay divided from one another as human beings.

    I agree with you that Gaza is a bad situation, but there is no concerted attempt at genocide by the Israeli government (thank goodness). Hopefully, a two-state solution can still be had, and if not, then Israel should become a fully multiracial and multiethnic democracy and admit the Palestinians as full and equal citizens.

    I think it is deeply problematic that there is so much continued Jewish settlement in areas that ought to be devoted to a two-state settlement.

    But I disagree with you that the Muslim Council responded properly to an Auschwitz commemoration. Such commemorations give humanity an opportunity to come together in solidarity, and transcend our differences (at least for a time). It wasn’t, afterall, just Jews who died as a result of Nazi cleansing policies, but captured Russians, Poles, the handicapped, Jehovah Witnesses, gypsies, and homosexuals. 6 million Jews—and at least 3-5 million other human beings—died by the mechanisms of Nazi concentration and death camps.

  3. Colin in Canada says:

    Khair, If you have to explicitly say that it was not anti-semitsm…jew hating…then you are IN FACT proving it was, otherwise you would not have to defend yourself. If Israel wanted to wipe out the palestinians in gaza, it would have been done by now. All they had to do was lob rockets indiscriminantly into gaza city, which they did not. If they wanted to to kill all the civilians, they would have. You seem to forget that arabs in Israel have equal rights, Try finding that for Jews in an arab country. There is not holocaust here, only your short sighted view. You forgot to use the rest of the buzzwords….occupiers, invaders, land stealers, zionist agressors. If you are going to spread false propaganda, at least do it right.

  4. khairbakhsh says:


    I respect your sentiments about Auschwitz Holocaust and I also admired about your determination against such occurrences that pose danger to humanity. In my point of view, you are once again missing the level of judgment in measuring those atrocities that made by Israeli government to punish the whole Palestinian people to date.

    As for as your two-state solution concern, I just say that at least they were not Palestinians who committed genocide against Jews, then why the decedents of those camps repeating same atrocities against Palestinian that once made by German Nazis against their forefathers.

    If a person occupied my home by force or any other coercion, then there is no justification left behind for him or any third party or mediator to divide my home for the sack of peace and stability in nearby neighbourhood or whole metropolitan.

    Today, if Palestinians are unable to reinstate themselves as the owners of their homeland, then it doesn’t mean that they had lost their ownership for ever over their own land. Why they compromise just on a small portion? Is this justice left behind for them in this so-called civilized world?

    What did German Nazis are crimes against humanity and what are Israelis doing in Palestine …………! Raise this question against your inner soul and find answer. In your reply your categorized the situation of Gaza is bad. Bad!! What you mean by using this word. Are you still in doubt that Palestinians were not faced the worst shelling ‘in a congesting localities’ of the twenty first century.

    There is a need of justice and equality in this matter and Justice will always be in favour of truth. Is there any justice exist in this world?


    I agree for the sack of your arguments that Jews and Arabs have same rights in Israel. OK, now let me introduce name of any Arab Muslim who chaired the seat of Ministry or a higher authority with full authority in Israel while Arab population is more than 10% of total population. Just count and count again.

    ~ Khair Bakhsh

  5. khairbakhsh says:

    10 Jan 2007 … Majadele is the first Arab to be appointed minister in the State of Israel since its inception.

    Not currently,Only one case in the entire history of Israel.

    Arabs and Jews are equal in Israel. Realy!1 I am just laughing.

    ~ Khair Bakhsh

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