Religion & Beliefs

Are Muslims in the UK Being Treated “Like Jews”?

I really really REALLY hate it when people bring up the Holocaust as a trump card. I have a huge respect for everyone who died in camps, and on death marches, and in ghettoes, and everywhere else during World War … Read More

By / February 12, 2007

I really really REALLY hate it when people bring up the Holocaust as a trump card. I have a huge respect for everyone who died in camps, and on death marches, and in ghettoes, and everywhere else during World War II, and that’s why I cringe whenever camps, ghettoes and death marches are brought up in political conversations. It seems disrespectful, and it also often seems whiny. And then when people start calling Jews Nazis for any reason whatsoever I just turn my back on the conversation entirely, because it seems to me that there’s NOTHING to be gained when you call someone a Nazi, and when that person is Jewish, you’re gonna get your tush kicked by someone’s Israeli soldier cousin, or the ADL, depending on who “you” are. But I have to admit, I didn’t know what to think when I saw this headline on an article in the London Times: We’re victimised like Jews by the Nazis, says Muslim leader. On the one hand, all kinds of alarm bells are going off in my head right now. On the other hand, the article presents some pretty compelling evidence. There are nine Muslim men being held without charges in British prisons, and Mohammad Naseem, chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque, is understandably pissed about it. Muslims feel like they’re being “picked on,” he says, and feel that they’re being made the scapegoat of a terrorist witch hunt. I think those are legitimate sentiments. I mean, when 13 Jewish men were randomly accused of espionage in Iran, the Jewish community completely freaked out. Clearly, though, the British Muslim community is producing some terrorists who are committing acts of terrorism (like 7/7) fueled by a certain understanding of the Q’uran. And those people are causing all the negative response. But in Nazi Germany I’m pretty sure there was a blatant disregard for facts one way or another. The government was going out of their way to be explicitly anti-Semitic, more interested in broad strokes than making scapegoats of particular people (and if I’m wrong about this, somebody please correct me). I guess what I’m saying is, I think the Nazis solution was generally just to fabricate things completely, and wait until some random case came along that happened to uphold their view, and then to glorify that case. And in Britain it seems like people are just scared, so they’re taking the little information they have and applying it way too broadly, which results in the demonization of Muslims. This isn’t helped by an inept and insensitive government (but what is?). Just when I was ready to write off the Times article as useless and over-the-top, I came across this penultimate quote, by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, former leader of the Muslim Council of Britain: “I wouldn’t have used the Nazi reference but I know from the number of calls that we are getting that people are really disturbed by the onslaught on the Muslim community.” Well, yeah. That’s pretty reasonable. But if you’re looking for something really helpful, check out this article from The Guardian about how eerily parallel the treatment of Jews and Muslims has been in Britain. Pretty much left my head spinning.