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Canada: Holocaust Memorial Day - this time with an ethnic twist

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Wednesday 15 May 2019, by siawi3

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Source: https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/fatah-holocaust-memorial-day-this-time-with-an-ethnic-twist

Holocaust Memorial Day - this time with an ethnic twist

Tarek Fatah

Published: May 7, 2019 Updated: May 7, 2019 4:08 PM EDT

Photo: A crew member walks toward the National Holocaust Monument before the official opening in Ottawa, Wednesday September 27, 2017. Snowy days in the national capital could force the closure of the just opened National Holocaust Monument. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Having attended various Holocaust Remembrance Days over the years, visiting Auschwitz and the concentration camp of Majdanek, all while researching for my book, “The Jew is Not My Enemy,” I have rarely come across Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists or Muslims in the mix.

But last week the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre (FSWC) took the initiative of holding the Holocaust Memorial service not inside a synagogue or Jewish Centre, but under open skies in Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square.

This time, a turbaned Sikh, Brampton City Councillor Gurpreet Singh Dhillon graced the occasion saying, “at the end of the day we are all Canadians, we are all humans, and no matter what faith you belong to we have to remember we are all brothers and sisters.”

There was also a delegation of Hindu pandits from Kashmir who have faced their own genocide since 1990 when their entire population was ethnically cleansed from the ancient ancestral homeland by Pakistan-backed jihadi terrorists.

I asked Vidya Bhushan Dhar why he thought it necessary to attend the Holocaust Memorial event. “We know the Jews are very few, so they are the easiest to blame and target. We as Hindus of Kashmir are also victims of such hatred and are today scattered across India and the world because we were very few and no one came to stand in solidarity with us,” he answered.

There were also Islamic clerics as well as representatives of the Ahmadiyya Muslims who are a targeted community in Islamic Indonesia and Pakistan and barred from entering Saudi Arabia because they are considered apostates.

The brainchild of this highly symbolic exercise was Avi Benlolo of the FSWC along with an Indian Buddhist attired in Japanese Samurai attire, Zenji Nio who thundered: “Never again will the non-Jewish community sit on their hands or lie supinely on their backs while Jew-hatred escalates — instead we will resoundingly tell the world — if you want to mess with them, you have to go through us first.”

I asked Zenji Nio what motivated him to bring together so many communities in one place. Ordinarily, Zenji is diplomatic, but this time his words were blunt: “Throughout history, anti-Semitism has been promoted on occasion from both Christian as well as Muslim pulpits and by both Christian as well as Muslim leaders. So, as a Buddhist, I felt it was important to have all these leaders in attendance to send a message to people all over the world that they should not allow religion to instill within them hate and bigotry — but instead pluralism and tolerance.”

Sadly, for every effort by souls such as Zenji Nio, Gurpreet Singh Dhillon, Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, Vidya Bhushan Dhar, and Avi Benlolo, a Moroccan-born Jew, there are many others busy spreading Jew hatred.

On Sunday, I received a mass e-mail with tales of Jewish conspiracies and anti-Semitic hatred. The commentary was titled, “Why Are Jews Persecuted?” One line stood out: “if Hitler had developed a ‘Final Solution’ to the Jewish question, there had to have been a ‘Jewish Problem’.“ … “their [Jews] roles in the radical homosexual movement, the radical feminist movement, the pornography industry as well as their over-representation in the abortion industry… their role in organized crime, in the slave trade, in the civil rights movement…”

The next day was the first day of the Islamic month of Ramzan (Ramadan), and in the words of U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar “some people did something”: Islamic Jihad and Hamas rained 600 rockets on the Jewish state of Israel.

Miles to go before we rest.