Op-Ed: Irony: Muslims Don Yellow Star
Shelomo AlfassaShelomo Alfassa is the former director of the US Campaign for International Rights and Redress for Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.
How ironic. French Muslims are putting on the symbol of the persecution of Jews.
In all of Europe, the country with the most numerous Muslim population is France. In response to many native Frenchman's fears that their national culture is being subverted by a growing Islamic influx, as well as security concerns, the government of France overwhelmingly placed a ban on wearing full-face veils in public. In response to this, several protests were instituted by various Islamic groups in the streets of Paris.
These protests included the distribution of 'green stars,' which were to be worn by Muslims as a sign of symbolic persecution. On April 11, 2011, the day the headscarf ban took effect, French and international television reports showed Muslims distributing these five pointed green stars. Abderahmane Dahmane, the French President's former "diversity adviser," called on Muslims to wear the green star (the declared color of Islam) a move deliberately reminiscent of the yellow stars forced on the Jews by the Germans, Bulgarians and others during the era of the Holocaust.
One would think that the French Muslim leadership would be more urbane than to compare the banning of the headscarf to the mass murder and torture of six million innocent people. Yet, these sorts of protests are not original. In 1994, Muslims in France sported yellow crescents on their arms while marching with the slogan, "When is it our turn?" an explicit allusion to the Holocaust and the yellow stars the Jews were mandated to wear during WWII.
Nonetheless, there is something ironic about all of this 'stars' business, for it was not Hitler who mandated the yellow star, but the leaders of the Islamic religion some 1200 years earlier. With the Pact of Umar, a 9th century set of guidelines between conquering Muslims and conquered non-Muslims, both Jews and Christians could gain their safety by complying with the wearing of a distinct yellow indicator of their non-Islamic status. Subsequent to this, Muslims mandated Jews wore distinct clothing, often yellow, and/or stars, from Islamic Spain to Syria and Iraq and out as far as Persia.
This unsophisticated route the Islamic leadership in France has elected to take as a form of protest at the banning of the headscarf, is not only hypocrisy at the highest level, but demonstrates a lack of understanding of the history of their own religion and a crass insensitivity to the Jewish people.