Yom HaShoah, a Muslim perspective
By Mike Ghouse
Dallas, Sunday, April 15, 2007.
The Jews in America and Canada commemorated the remembrance of Holocaust also known as Yom HaShoah on Sunday the 15th day of April, 2007. The service was held at Congregation Teifert Israel in Dallas, honoring the survivors. (A friend sent me a note and link about Hatikva - it is at the bottom of the article - it was recorded 61 years ago)
Nearly 2/3rds of European Jewry or about a 1/3rd of the world Jewry were ruthlessly murdered for who they were; Jews. Collectively and shamelessly, the world represented by you and I stood by watching it happen, we did not take any action until 6 Million Jews were murdered. Where was the sense of Justice in the world?
Yom HaShoah is about coming together annually and reflecting about ourselves and our role in the world as individuals and as members of the world family. How do we cope with the immense pain of going through harrowing experience when faced with death, and you cannot do anything with the ruthless, cold-blooded and obdurate marauders in front of you. Worse than that is the feeling of helplessness and betrayal knowing that the world family is literally standing by and doing nothing. In times like this we lose faith in humanity. On this day of reflection, we need to understand, and learn how to nurture the humanness within us; salvation stems from being a human in union with God.
Regardless of the depth of our understanding of this observance, it could pave the way for us to learn and understand how we have dealt with the Holocaust. How the world and the Jews are dealing with it for the last sixty-two years? We are in great need of healing, and it would be a good beginning to share each other’s experience to strive for a better world as God has said in the above mentioned verse.
Justice exists when you are just to everyone, it won’t be justice if it is accorded to one and denied to the other. Being Muslims, we have to speak out against every single atrocity, being just and truthful is the highest value we need to foster, even if it incriminates us. There is no such thing as taking the 5th in Islam. We just have to be truthful and face the consequences for our actions. Qur’aan: 4:135 “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it is (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts); lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.”
“Holocaust is a reminder to awaken compassion in all of us as humanity.” As one of the most prominent survivor Elie Wiesel puts it. Perhaps the Holocaust can be a lesson in turning evil into blessing and make a commitment to speak up.
“Never again” is the phrase we need to understand and utter all the times. It can mean that, we who have understood the suffering of genocide commit to ourselves to never allow this thing to happen again. We have to make that commitment and become morally sensitive to honor every life form that God has created. If we want others to honor our life, we need to ask what have we done to generate reciprocation.
This week we remember the six million innocent people, who did not do any wrong to any one, except that they believed in the God the way they knew. We can turn their memory into blessings and honor their sacrifice to bring a just peace to the Middle East, one in which the security needs of the Israelis and the legitimate needs of Palestinians are recognized, as the future of Israel and Palestine is protected. Some day the peace will come, let us not postpone the responsibility to the next generation, we have passed the buck for over 60 years and it is time we make sincere efforts to end it. So never again, we will stand silent when human beings are treated unjustly, unfairly. Dalai Lama says, “Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity”. We have to work out ways to live together, we owe it to the next generation, so they can sleep in peace, go the school in peace and mothers can shop in peace. Peace is in our interest.
I urge everyone to visit the holocaust Museum in their own City.
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio, discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He founded the World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: "good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is www.MikeGhouse.net and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://MikeGhouseforAmerica.Blogspot.com and http://MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com. Mike lives in Carrollton with his family and has been a Dallasite since 1980.
Scott Simon of NPR reports on a rare recording of the "Hatikva " from 61 years ago. It was recorded by a British reporter in May 1945 in Bergen-Belsen when the British army liberated the few thousand survivors in the concentration camp, half of which were Jewish, most of them were at the extremes of their strength. The British priest organized prayers for Kabbalat Shabbat for the Jews, it was the first time after 6 years of war and after more than 10 years of persecution. With a lot of effort the Jews organized themselves and knowing they were recorded and sang " Hatikva". As you can hear they sang the original version as it was written by Naftali Imber. It is very moving,