A conference on Holocaust denial in the Muslim world was held at Bar-Ilan University this week ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, featuring numerous academics, several journalists, and Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch.
At the event Arutz Sheva got a chance to speak with Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University, a renowned expert of Arabic and the Arab world.
Kedar argued the Arab world denies the Holocaust "because any acknowledging that the Holocaust actually was is in their view legitimizing Israel, and giving Israel (a reason) to live and to exist."
"They deny the Holocaust, they deny the Jewish history, they deny the Jewish connection to this country," he explained.
While much of the Arab world denies the Holocaust, Dr. Kedar noted that alternately some are taught about the Holocaust, but they are taught to think poorly of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler not for his genocide, but rather "because he didn't finish the job with the Jews."
Dr. Nesia Shemer, also of Bar-Ilan University, told Arutz Sheva about the position of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, and "the most influential and important Muslim leader in our days."
Shemer noted that al-Qaradawi "argues that the Holocaust did happen, but it was a divine punishment from God to the Jews because of their sins." He also minimizes the genocide, claiming only a million or a million-and-a-half Jews were murdered, and that the "real Holocaust is that of the Palestinians."
What should the response be to this widespread Holocaust denial and corruption of fact?
According to Kedar, the Arab world and the world at large should be confronted with pictures and other historical evidence proving the Holocaust.
He said those documents should include "especially those of the mufti (of Jerusalem) Haj Amin al-Huseini, who actually incited the Nazis to burn the Jews in general, and he actually took a very active part in the extermination of half-a-million Jews in Hungary in 1944."