Saturday, January 28, 2006

Muslims and Jews

I've been meaning to write something about the relation between Muslims and Jews for a long time, especially as it is presented as a problem in the popular media. Israel is of course an important aspect of this relationship, but I would like to focus here on two other issues only as a way of introduction. Needless to say, there is much more to be said on this topic but hopefully the following links should be able to provide some initial signposting on this topic.

I am surprised when meeting young Jews about how little they know about Moses Maimonides. He is regarded as amongst the greatest of Jewish scholars, if not the greatest. He wrote in Arabic, studied at Fez and was the physician of Salahuddin al Ayyubi, no less. His life indicates that the relation between Muslims and Jews is not as simple as sometimes portrayed.

On the Holocaust, Masood Cajee has just a written a short and wonderful article which I think provides a clear moral position on the Holocaust.

It is Zygmunt Bauman who has stated one of the clearest arguments againnst the horrors of the Holocaust. But he has related the severity of its crime to modernity. Yet, this point is not rehearsed as we remember how it became possible for the first time in history to engage in a scale of murder which was previously unimaginable. Modernity with its notion of identity and difference (through nationalism) and through the application of its developing technological know-how made the Holocaust possible. Modernity should share the blame.