Sunday, March 13, 2011

Holocaust Center Hires Muslim

The appointment of Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, a Muslim woman, as the new director of Manhattan College's Holocaust Resource Center has enraged some children of survivors.

VIN News

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), a child of Holocaust survivors and the Assembly representative of the largest contingent of Holocaust survivors, is leading the charge to have the word Holocaust removed from the name of the Holocaust Resource Center of Manhattan College.

Located in Riverdale, the stated mission of Manhattan College's Holocaust Resource Center is "to educate people about the Holocaust and its significance for the present."

Yet, in a recent announcement, Manhattan College indicated that it is "broadening its focus and will actively seek to foster understanding among Christians, Jews and Muslims through interfaith dialogue related to its educational mission." Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, a Muslim woman, has been hired as the Holocaust Resource Center's new director. Manhattan College is expected to implement these changes in the fall.

"The Holocaust is a uniquely Jewish event," Hikind wrote in a letter to Manhattan College President Dr. Brennan O'Donnell.

"Since Manhattan College is changing the stated intent of the Holocaust Resource Center, it should also change the name to reflect its new character, and exclude the word Holocaust. . . .The term Holocaust should only be associated with the Jews. Only the Jews were targeted by the Nazis for utter and complete annihilation, and only the Jews were subject to the "Final Solution. The addition of Dr. Afridi and the expansion of the Center's mission diminish the magnitude of the Holocaust as a defining Jewish event."

In the letter, Hikind also referenced an offensive and erroneous comment made by Dr. Afridi. In published remarks in an August 11, 2008 Khaleej Times article, Dr. Afridi states that, "Jews can help Muslims navigate in a post-9/11 world by sharing with them the difficulties that they too faced in Europe and the United States..."

"It is inconceivable to me how Dr. Afridi can even begin to equate what the Jews of Europe suffered under Nazi rule with what she perceives Muslims in present-day America are enduring," Hikind said in response to Afridi's remark.

"To my knowledge, I am not aware of any Muslims being rounded up and sent to gas chambers. Dr. Afridi is the wrong individual to head this or any Holocaust resource center."

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