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

May 13, 2019 | Tarek Fatah
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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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