Our dear old friend, Bristol’s high-profile Muslim spokesman and ‘community leader’ Farooq Siddique, has popped up in the comments to explain why the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto have nothing to do with The Holocaust. It’s semantics:
The term holocaust originally derived from the Greek word holókauston, meaning a “completely (holos) burnt (kaustos)” sacrificial offering to a god. It is in this context that said i was NOT referring to the Holocaust i.e the gas chambers
This an odd subject for semantic hair-splitting, particularly from a chaplain of a Russell Group University and from someone who apparently doesn’t know the difference between a proper noun and a common noun.
The other obvious observation here is that this is 21st Century Britain and we don’t speak ancient Greek but contemporary international English. So while Mr Siddique’s etymological ramblings might be of some vague academic interest do they bear any relation to reality?
No. Neither in popular usage nor in more serious academic and historical circles would you ordinarily find Mr Siddique’s peculiar and particular definition of The Holocaust. It does not – and never has done – solely refer to people who died in gas chambers as Mr Siddique claims.
While the gas chambers are a haunting and memorable symbol of the crime. They are not its entirety.
No, The Holocaust is a shorthand term for a long process of systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution on the basis of race by the Nazi Party that culminated in the horror of ‘the final solution of the Jewish question’ and the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
On a brutally practical level is Mr Siddique saying that the hundreds of thousands of Nazi victims shot dead and buried in open graves in Eastern Europe are not victims of The Holocaust because they didn’t die in gas chambers? How about those that were worked to death in labour camps? Or starved to death in concentration camps? What of those randomly shot in the back of the head? Beaten to death? Used for medical experimentation? Tortured to death? Do they not count any more?
Then what of these 100,000 that perished in the Warsaw ghetto at the hands of the Nazis? Does anyone – apart from Mr Siddique – say that these people were not victims of The Holocaust? Why would anyone claim this?
I’ll leave it to you to try and figure out why a self-appointed Muslim ‘community leader’ with Islamist leanings and a penchant for 9/11 conspiracy theories might want to start to revise the history and meaning of The Holocaust but perhaps it’s salutary to see what some of Siddique’s close compatriots are thinking.
This is an op/ed piece from the Gulf News in early January. It’s an English language newspaper of record in the Gulf region, not a fringe publication:
Today, the whole world stands as a witness to the fact that the Nazi holocaust was a mere lie, which was devised by the Zionists to blackmail humanity. The same Zionist entity swindled the world out of billions of dollars over the years to compensate the wrong and unjust which they claim to have been inflicted on their people.
This, meanwhile, is from an open letter to US President Barack Obama “penned by a galaxy of Muslim scholars thinkers, political activists and academics”, of whom the best known in the UK is probably Yusuf al-Qaradawi who was welcomed to London as “a progressive” by then Mayor Ken Livingstone.
Here’s some excerpts of those progressive views:
Do not expect normal relations with the Arabs and Muslims and those who espouse truth and justice in favor of the peoples of the world unless the injustice inflicted upon the Palestinian nation and primarily supported by the United States is lifted
We deeply realize that every sane person believes deep inside that no other nation in history has suffered injustice like the one inflicted upon the Palestinian people.
This unlimited support of Israel results in the violation of all international laws and moral values
We would like to remind you of the point of view reached at by many of the distinguished academic scholars in America and Europe that assures that the events of the 11th of September 2001 were nothing but fabricated drama by some influential forces in America in coordination with Israeli Mossad
There is clearly a movement out there trying to turn the national and political conflict in Palestine into a racial and religious one. Regardless of which side you support, this turn should be confronted and resisted for reasons that lie for all to see in the cesspool of European 20th Century history.