Muslim Scholar, Looking to ‘Speak the Truth,’ Teaches the Holocaust and Islam –

Always encouraging to read about people like this, who look beyond their particular community and background, and look for the universal:

… Dr. Afridi said, some Muslims called her a “Jew lover.” More troubling to her are the persistent rumors in Muslim circles that her scholarly work is being secretly funded by Jews.

Raked by those hostile crosswinds, Dr. Afridi keeps her address and the names of her family members confidential. Nothing, however, had led to self-censorship in her role as a public intellectual, she said.

“I have the empirical, existential understanding of my subject matter,” she said. “And I have the belief that if you speak for another, it means more than if you speak for yourself, for your own people. And when there’s so much daily tension between Muslims and Jews, it’s momentous for us to do this work, whether it’s me with the Shoah, or it’s a Jewish scholar speaking out about the Muslims in Bosnia or about Palestinian suffering. We are commanded by God to speak the truth.”

….For her course on “Religion and the Holocaust,” she faces one set of challenges — teaching about that terrible time in history to young people who often barely know it, and discussing Christian anti-Semitism’s role in the Shoah with students who are predominantly Christian. In her role as author, lecturer and director of a genocide center, she encounters Jews and Muslims, some supportive and others antagonistic, yet all, in her view, reachable.

“If a Muslim asks me why I’m not teaching about the Nakba, then I’ll say we already know about it, and what we need to learn about is the Holocaust,” she said. “And if a Jew tells me, ‘Muslims are Nazis,’ I’ll say, ‘Can we have lunch?’ These are the people we have to engage.”

Muslim Scholar, Looking to ‘Speak the Truth,’ Teaches the Holocaust and Islam –