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.”

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Read more at Toronto Sun

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

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror