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Islam Goodness Awareness Week

Religion

Conservative commentator David Horowitz declared last week Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. According to Princeton University's Daily Princetonian, Horowitz linked Islamists and Nazis in a recent speech: "Jew hating is not only rampant, but has become a religion in the Muslim world ever since the Nazis made a pact with radical Islamists."

A new display at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem proves that in World War II, however, some Muslims practiced Islam by saving the lives of endangered Jews. According to the Jerusalem Post, the display recognizes Albanian Muslims who refused to betray Jews during the Nazi occupation of Albania.

Before World War II, 200 Jews lived within Albanian borders. Jews fled to Albania as the Third Reich rose and when the Nazis occupied Albania in 1943, they demanded lists of the Jews who lived there. Albanian Muslims refused to comply, and the Jewish population in Albania survived and even grew.

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The reason Albanians helped: an Albanian code of honor called Besa, translated "to keep the promise." Exhibition curator Yehudit Shendar said, "Many, if not all, were heavily influenced in their choice by Islam." The son of a man who saved Jews asked, "Why did my father save a stranger at the risk of his life and the entire village? My father was a devout Muslim. He believed that to save one life is to enter paradise."

Norman Gershman took the photographs that comprise the display. He spoke with some of the 63 Albanians who received Yad Vashem's "Righteous Among the Nations" award and said, "What I found were good people who did good deeds." Many said the Koran motivated them, and the Muslim culture's ideal of hospitality. Gershman said, "This is a story that [shows] there are good Muslims in the world."

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