Friday, February 09, 2007

The Supreme Muslim Council of Ireland on Holocaust Memorial Day

Here is a thoroughly admirable statement by Sheikh Prof. Shaheed Satardien, Chairman of the Supreme Muslim Council of Ireland, on Holocaust Memorial Day. (It is especially striking given the fact that most British Muslim organizations, including the umbrella Muslim Council of Britain, have refused to recognize or participate in Holocaust Memorial Day.)

Today is a day of remembrance and contemplation of the horrific tragedy that befell the Jewish people in WWII which is a shameful event in the history of the human race and a failure of a society to protect a vulnerable section of its indigenous people.

It is inconceivable that a minority in Europe which had been well established for generations and have produced some of its greatest minds and also contributed immensely to the advancement of the society it lived in would suffer such horrors.

This admirable community was tragically not immune to facing near extermination by a bigoted ultra-nationalistic regime and opportunist politicians who exploited the fears, prejudices and misconceptions of the majority population. The human race is poorer and lessened by the loss of so many vibrant Jewish communities.

If we were to exclude the current conflicts in the Middle East, then we will find that in the past the Muslim and Jewish peoples have lived side-by-side for centuries in relative peace, understanding and harmony.

Indeed in the Ottoman Empire and Andalusia, both communities flourished and prospered in great parts as a result of the mutual co-operation and the exchange of ideas. It is sad to discover that although the majority of Muslims involved in WWII fought with the allies against the axis powers, there was collusion between a hand-full of prominent but unrepresentative Muslim clerics with the Nazi regime.

For that we express our deepest and heart-felt regrets and sadness and our sincere apologies for the suffering that was caused to the Jewish community.

We hope and pray that one day we can return to an age where mutual respect and peace between the adherents of the two faiths becomes the norm instead of the exception. This catastrophe of our human history should never ever happen again. Never again!

Mohammed AlKabour
Sheikh Prof Shaheed Satardien

Aside from this statement, I know little about Sheik Shaheed Satardien or the Supreme Muslim Council of Ireland. My impression is that despite its ambitious title, the Supreme Muslim Council is in fact only one Irish Muslim group among many, though it does seem to have a genuine following. David T of Harry's Place comments:
Shaheed Satardien is a nice chap. He is a liberal, who has put himself on the line, in order to stand up to Muslim Brotherhood and jihadist sympathisers in Ireland. In fact, he has had a falling out with the main Dublin mosque as a result of his position on the matter.

I do think, however, that it is a pity that he felt he needed to say this:

For that we express our deepest and heart-felt regrets and sadness and our sincere apologies for the suffering that was caused to the Jewish community.

Shaheed Satardien is a South African born guy, living in Dublin. What Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini got up to with the Nazis during World War II is not his responsibility. He feels sad about it. So do I.

But I can think of absolutely no reason at all why he should feel that he, or indeed any muslim, ought to "apologise" for it.

Isn't this a contrast with the position of the Muslim Council of Britain, who stuck to the boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day, which they initially instituted in order to protest against the commemoration of the deaths of jews, gays, and Armenians? Personally, I can't see why anybody should feel obliged to participate in a memorial to genocide. But to boycott it, and for those reasons? Well, that's a different matter.
--Jeff Weintraub