Religious issues present complicated dilemmas in the teaching of many subjects. Instructors teaching about the Holocaust and other genocides confront complex histories , contentious politics, and traumatic legacies.
The New York Times profiles Mehnaz M. Afridi, an Assistant Professor of Religion at Manhattan College, who teaches about the Holocaust from a Muslim perspective.
Professor Afridi has been viewed “both a valued intermediary and a visible target in the troubled relations between Muslims and Jews,” according to the New York Times. “As her research unflinchingly shows, a strain of Holocaust denial runs deep in the Arab-Muslim world. Holocaust recognition among Arabs and Muslims, less noticed but equally divisive, has also served as a means of delegitimizing Israel and Zionism. By this line of reasoning, which ignores the historical ties of Jews to Israel, the Holocaust was a crime inflicted by Europeans for which Palestinians paid the price.”
The New York Times indicates that “while Dr. Afridi is an observant Muslim, praying daily and fasting during Ramadan, she is seen by Muslim critics as disloyal or naïve for putting her scholarly work at least partly in the service of chronicling a Jewish tragedy, rather than the defeat and dispossession that Palestinians call the Nakba. Moreover, she has studied in Israel and expressed support in her writings for a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.”
The New York Times reports on teaching the Holocaust from Muslim perspectives. Researchers working on religion, violence, and genocide studies will be interested to read more about Professor Afridi’s approaches to studying the Holocaust, as well as the broader issues of teaching about religious violence and comparative genocides.