The following is by an Arab journalist in London, Jihad Khazen. He’s somewhat rough in his English and in his opinions, but he is also well-meaning. This is published in his newspaper column in Al-Hayat and also in his weblog.
Ayoon Wa Azan (The Other Extremism) by Jihad el-Khazen, in Al-Hayat, Dec. 25, 2006
No sooner had the Holocaust conference in Tehran come to an end than the Iranian voters dealt a resounding blow to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies in the elections….
…. Ahmadinejad represents the “other extremism.” He is as stubborn as US President George Bush, and his knowledge is similarly limited….
The Iranian voters have let down their president mainly for internal reasons like mismanagement, the faltering economy despite skyrocketing oil prices and Ahmadinejad’s failure to fulfill his promises to the poor…. The Council of Experts is the body that chooses the supreme leader of the Islamic republic. The president’s bloc won only three seats in the 15-seat council, while his own sister Perwin, who chairs the bloc, ranked 11th.
The Western press interpreted Ahmadinejad’s loss as it liked. The most important point for the West is Iran’s nuclear program. However, this program may be the only thing on which the Iranians unanimously agree….
The denial of the Holocaust has caused Iran, and Muslims in general, many unnecessary troubles. We, as Arabs and Muslims, need to build bridges of understanding with the moderate Jews who advocate peace around the world. Denying the Holocaust does not serve this purpose.
President Ahmadinejad, and whoever is interested, should listen to the following:
Firstly, the Holocaust took place within contemporary history. Some of those who had witnessed the massacre, in which six million Jews were killed, are still alive. This figure has been recorded by trustworthy historians not by the revisionist David Irving or the racist David Duke.
Secondly, we did not kill those Jews. I do not understand why some Arabs and Muslims insist to deny a crime they never committed. Yet, they paid the price when the Western butcher tried to do penance for his crime by sending those who survived the Holocaust to Palestine.
Thirdly, the Holocaust did not come out of nothing. It did not come by chance either. The Christian West has been killing Jews for the last 1,000 years since the First Crusade in 1099. Then, they killed the Jewish as well as the Muslim populations of Jerusalem. They did the same in every subsequent crusade attack. Making their way to Palestine, the crusaders killed every Jew they met throughout Europe. Some of these massacres have been recorded in details.
Fourthly, Muslims and Jews have lived together for ages. Jews were non-Muslims living under Muslim rule, but they were not being killed. They even took high state positions sometimes, like in Andalusia or in modern times. The mutual massacres between Jews and Arabs, especially the Palestinians, are nothing compared to a single day’s lot in Auschwitz or Treblinka.
Fifthly, there are extremists on both sides who justify the existence of each other. They exploit the enemy’s hard-line discourse to respond with more extremism in a widening circle death and destruction.
I believe that a big majority of Arabs and Jews wants to live in peace. I also believe that peace is attainable if they renounce extremism and extremists.
If I were Ahmadinejad, I wouldn’t organize a conference to deny the Nazi Holocaust through study. Rather, I would invite Muslim and Jewish moderates to a conference to build up bridges of mutual understanding. We should look to the future instead of living in the past. Racism against Arabs and Muslims has been widespread throughout the world. Muslims and Jews are competing in terms of which is being more persecuted than the other….