I am a Muslim Turk and I Condemn the Jewish Holocaust
By Aylin Kocaman
The world watched the slaughter of 6 million Jews during the Second World War. A racist, dictator and lunatic slaughtered them in broad daylight in the name of “the superiority of the Aryan race,” and the world said nothing.
One of the worst tragedies in history was portrayed under a scientific guise. Attempts were made to portray the slaughter as justified. Yet there was no science or logic involved. However, propaganda, indoctrination and ignorance resolved the issue. There was a mass of people ready to be deceived. And deceived they were. The world merely watched one of the greatest tragedies in history. Some people even applauded it!
In his book “Mein Kampf,” Hitler spoke of a struggle for survival he adopted from Ernst Haeckel and claimed existed in nature. According to that idea, the world’s population was greater than could be met by its natural resources, meaning that the strong and “fittest” would always have to be victorious. So sick, old, handicapped and weak people had to be eliminated, and so-called “unfavored races” would have to excluded from the “favors” as much as possible, or, more importantly, annihilated. Hitler acquired the racism on which he based his fascism from that idea.
The Nazis’ “theory of race” was based on the hypothesis that there is an “iron law” that every animal in nature mates only with its own species. They sought to adapt this law among “species” in nature to human “races.” The fact is, different species could not generate new generations, but races could. But this was not supposed to be so in Hitler’s terrifying logic. Hostility toward Semitic races led Hitler and his Arian followers to describe themselves as a supposedly superior race. And thus began the Jewish Holocaust, that the world remembers with disgust.
Here I must remind readers that the concept of the struggle in nature on which Hitler and other racists base their ideas is a complete deception. There is a struggle for survival in nature, but altruism is more dominant. Living things survive, not by always killing one another, but by generally behaving altruistically, protecting one another and even living together. They sometimes give up their lives to protect others. Life is therefore not a battleground, as Hitler imagined. More importantly, we are not animals who have to kill others in order to survive.
My aim in this piece is not to describe the details of the Jewish Holocaust, which I curse with all my heart and which is familiar to all. I want to describe, from a Muslim perspective, how Islam looks at the Holocaust. Islam curses the Holocaust. There is no racial discrimination or superiority in Islam, as there is not in any other religion. God says in the Koran:
“Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (49:13)
God says it is righteous, genuine and honest people who are superior. Superiority does not, therefore, lie in race, descent, brain size, eyes or eyebrows, but in moral values. People who imagine themselves to be racially “favored” may experience an unexpected disappointment in the presence of God. As the verse says, people have been divided into different races and ethnic origins so they can come to know one another and live in peace and brotherhood. Not to claim to be superior and murder one another. Different races are not, as fascists imagine, a tool in a supposed “fight for survival.”
Islam curses anti-Semitism. Jews must be treated with affection by Muslims as friends and brothers and, according to the Koran, they must be protected by Muslims in times of need. Just as the Turkish diplomat Behic Erkin saved 20,000 Jews from Nazi persecution in 1939. He gave them identity documents with the moon and star, the emblems of the Turkish flag on the side, and taught them to say the Turkish words, “I am Turkish, my relatives live in Turkey,” thus affording them protection, and brought 20,000 Jews safely to Turkey. The number of Jews whom Erkin later rescued from the concentration camps is even greater.
Behic Erkin is an excellent model, but not the only example. Many Turks brought Jews to safety in Turkey in their boats and gave them the opportunity of living in safety in Turkish territory. This stems from these people basing themselves on the true spirit of Islam that is far removed from bigotry.
Jews need to know this: there are still people like them in Turkey. Turkish people will always continue to love and protect Jews, despite political crises I am certain are only temporary. Because Turkish people think democratically and are devoted to Islam. And they know perfectly well that Islam curses anti-Semitism.
The denial of the Jewish Holocaust in some Islamic countries is ignorance. Disregarding that terrible savagery, the underlying diseased mindset and the millions of people who were killed serves no other purpose than to nourish anti-Semitism. The leading representatives of that mindset are under the influence of the scourge of the radicalism into which they have fallen. Radical ideas have made them hostile to Jews and have forced them to deny this terrible tragedy. That is because a diseased mindset will always produce diseased ideas.
Islam curses the idea of sending Jews – or other people – into exile. Of course Jews can live anywhere they wish, just like all other communities. But their true home is in the Holy Land (Koran, 5:21, 17:104, 10:93, 2:58). The mindset that seeks to exile the Jews from the Holy Land, like Hitler exiled them by saying, “There is no room for you in Germany,” conflicts with the Koran. If that mindset says it is acting in the name of Islam, then that is a crime, and a defamation of Islam.
On the anniversary of the Holocaust, I memorialize those Jewish brothers and sister that died and suffered during that very dark period. Friendship between the good, honest and peace-loving people whom God regards as superior is essential if such tragedies are not to be repeated. From this page, again, I call on Muslims, Jews and Christians, the supporters of love and friendship, to build union and unity. That union will bring peace to the world. This is certain, because it is God’s promise.
The writer is a commentator and religious and political analyst on Turkish TV and also a peace activist. She is a host on the Building Bridges Show and writes as an op-ed column for the Jerusalem Post, the Washington Post and several online newspapers in Turkey. Her webpage is: en.aylinkocaman.com