Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Rashad Hussain will join newly appointed Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism Ira Forman, Ambassador Mike Kozak, and imams from around the world for a trip to Poland May 20-22 to visit Jewish communities, the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and other Holocaust historical sites.
The trip follows up on Special Envoy Hussain’s visit to Holocaust historical sites with previous Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal and American imams in 2010, and is a part of Special Envoy Hussain’s efforts to combat Holocaust denial and to address discrimination against religious minorities around the world.
For the record, Rashad Hussain is a nice guy. He comes from a family of Muslim-Indian academics (dad a mining engineer, mom and sister MDs, brother medical student). Rashad is an over achiever (got his BA in two years, was editor of the Yale Law Journal). I wish and pray all Muslims were like him (he was born in Wyoming and was raised in Texas, by the way—can you get any more red-blooded American than that?).
The problem isn’t with Rashad Hussain, but with the OIC, which has a permanent delegation to the United Nations, and represents the world views of bastions of liberalism like Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran.
The OIC is credited with the violence that erupted around the planet in 2005, in reaction to some Danish newspaper that published cartoons making fun of Mohammed. The extraordinary session convened the Islamic Summit Conference condemned the publication of the cartoons, which was followed by the violent demonstrations throughout the Islamic world, and a few recorded deaths. Until the OIC pointed out the cartoons, no one had heard about them.
It’s that kind of a restrained, citizen of the world kind of concern that led major Human Rights NGOs to send the OIC’s Ambassador Masood Khan a letter protesting remarks the delivered before the UN Human Rights Council, attacking Holocaust survivors for their role in “Defamation of Religions.”
Turn on your crazyscopes, this is what Amb. Khan said: “In many instances Holocaust survivors, instead of promoting [religious] harmony, are campaigning against Muslim symbols in the Western world. They should be the most ardent advocates against discrimination. Islamophobia is also a cruel form of Anti-Semitism.”
The NGOs told Khan:
We are unaware of any such “campaigning” by Holocaust survivors. Moreover, even if it were true that individuals were engaged in such an alleged effort, it would constitute unjustifiable stereotyping to label an entire group — particularly survivors of a genocide — on the basis of the alleged actions of a few.
We believe that Holocaust survivors, elderly men and women who are often frail and suffering from illness, are deserving of our sympathy and respect, not denigration in a speech at the United Nations.
So, if the very talented Rashad Hussain is able to drag at least some of these insane folks to the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau and if just a couple of them realize the magnitude of the industrial annihilation of Jews—it would possibly endow them with a new perspective on their relationship with Jews and the Jewish State.
Or—God help me—give them new ideas…
Incidentally, Amb. Khan is one of those public Muslim figures claiming he can’t possibly be an antisemite, since he is himself a Semite. This tired excuse, created more than a hundred years ago by Jew hating Arabs, is the true mark of a scoundrel.
Good luck on your version of the March of the Living, Rashad Hussain, go easy on the pierogi.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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