Seventy Five years today who would have thought that war was declared which saw Muslims and Jews served together in a common cause during the WW1-2 to rid the Nazis. Whilst some Muslims went as far to hide Jews from the Nazis during the occupation of Adolf Hitler forces some commonly known as the Third Reich which was one of the bloodies place in history I have been informed by my grandparents.
I still recall a relative of mine took me to The Righteous Muslim Exhibition is being launched at the Board of Deputies of British Jews in Bloomsbury, central London. And years later I went on my own to revisit the exhibition with my nephews and nieces as they should not forget a part of history that both fascist and racist will distorted as they well known to be Holocaust deniers.
Photographs of 70 Muslims who sheltered Jews during World War II will be displayed alongside stories detailing their acts of heroism.
Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to victims of the Holocaust, honours nearly 25,000 so-called “righteous persons” who risked their lives to protect the Jewish community during Nazi Germany’s reign of terror.
Some 70 Muslims have recently been added to the list. The exhibition explores their stories.
Among the “righteous” are the Hardaga family from Bosnia who provided shelter for the Jewish Kavilio family when German forces occupied Bosnia in 1943.
Half a century later, the Hardagas were themselves saved by the Kavilios during the Bosnian Civil War.
Threatened by the continuous shelling of Sarajevo, the Kavilio family appealed to the President of Bosnia to permit their erstwhile saviours to travel to Israel.
I recall Fiyaz Mughal, director of the charity Faith Matters and co-author of the accompanying booklet The Role of the Righteous Muslims said: “These communities were dispersed in the aftermath of the Second World War, and as the older generation passes away these stories will be lost.”
According to the 2011 Census, there are 2.7m Muslims and 263,000 Jews in England and Wales.
Mr Mughal hopes the exhibition will inspire young followers of both religions to research this area in partnership.
He said: “That’s the best thing for empathy and cohesion: shared learning and a common pride in who we are.”
Through unearthing further tales of co-operation between Muslims and Jews, Mr Mughal hopes the exhibition can counterbalance emerging narratives that set the two religions at odds
He said: “One of the main drivers of the project is that there are some small sections in Jewish communities who are trying to rewrite history and say that Muslims overwhelmingly helped the Nazis.
“And on the other side, there is a small section of the Muslim community who do not want to talk about the Holocaust for the sake of not wanting to build up an empathy with Jewish communities.
“That is unacceptable, because factually it’s untrue.”
Rabbi Natan Levy, exhibition co-ordinator, said: “This programme provides a unique bridge between the two communities, so that they can celebrate together, remember together, and not be driven further apart.
“There was a lovely moment when Fiyaz and I came together and quoted the same line from our respective scriptures: ‘whosoever saves a single life saves the entire universe’.”
Mr Mughal said: “Besa, a national code of honour in Albania – similar to the Pashtu code in Afghanistan – led the Muslims to provide sanctuary during the Nazi occupation.
“This is why the number of Jews actually increased in Albania during the Second World War.”
How strange at a time before the WW both Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived together as neighbours sharing bread, mosques, synagogues, and churches when there were no place of worship. Fast forward to today there are a small number of racist and fascist hell bent on making it for both Muslims and Jews to build a place of worship all because in the name of extremism.
What hypocrites those fascist have become they don’t have a problem to spend their money in our restaurants or takeaway claiming that they love a curry and a pint or a glass of wine to go along with it. Surely it’s beggars believe where fascism and racism continues today.
Already, there have been a series of violent physical attacks on mosques and other religious buildings in areas where the fascist and racist smashed their way into a local mosque has been active.
These include Redbridge where racist thugs terrorising worshippers and injuring the imam. The incident took place near Dagenham where the EDL and BNP have both staged demonstrations at the site of a proposed new mosque.
Racist thugs staged another violent rampage after their demonstration in Dudley last July, when a Hindu temple was attacked.
In the 1930s, fascists attacked synagogues in an attempt to whip up racist hatred and terrorise Jewish people. Now the fascist and racist groups is targeting mosques. The message is the same.
It is suggested that the EDL are racist thugs with fascists in their midst. Their campaign against mosques and synagogues are an attempt to bring racist hatred and division to our towns and cities.
We have to organise in every town and city to stand united against this racist threat. We must all stand shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim and Jewish communities.
Everyone has the right to practise their religion in safety, whether they do that in a mosque, church, synagogue or any other religious building.