In Toronto, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists Gathered to Commemorate the Holocaust

On Yom Hashoah this year, the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) held a large outdoor memorial ceremony. Tarek Fatah describes the unusual, and uplifitng, event:

[A] turbaned Sikh, the Brampton City councilor 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.” I have rarely come across Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, or Muslims at Holocaust remembrance days over the years.

There was also a delegation of Hindu pandits from Kashmir, who have faced violent persecution since 1990, when their entire population was ethnically cleansed from its ancient ancestral homeland by Pakistan-backed jihadists. . . . There were also Islamic clerics as well as representatives of the Ahmadi Muslims who are a targeted community in Islamic Indonesia and Pakistan and barred from entering Saudi Arabia because they are considered apostates.

The event was the brainchild of Avi Benlolo of FSWC along with an Indian Buddhist [named] Zenji Nio. . . . I asked Nio what motivated him to bring together so many communities in one place. Ordinarily, he 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.”

Read more at Toronto Sun

More about: Buddhism, Canada, Hinduism, Interfaith dialogue, Muslim-Jewish relations, Yom Hashoah

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy