When Muslims saved Jews

December 22, 2010

I regularly (and justifiably) criticize Islam and its apologists for the antisemitism and Jew-hatred that’s hardwired into the faith. But there are exceptions, and these need to be borne in mind so that we don’t cross the line from reasoned, valid criticism to a mindless bigotry that just mirrors our Salafist enemy. Such an exception is the following story, which tells the tale of Albanian Muslims who risked their lives to save thousands of Jews fleeing the Nazis:

“I’ll never forget this – when we were at this guy’s home and he was looking at us sort of like angrily and he said ‘What are you doing here?'” says Gershman. “We said, ‘Well, your family saved this Jewish family,’ and he looked at us and said, ‘So what? Any Albanian would have done the same thing. We did nothing special,’ and he meant it.”The Albanians have a word for this: Besa. It translates as ‘word of honor,’ and is a cultural precept unique to Albania.

“The word Besa in Albanian is kind of protection of when they host a guest, the Albanians, it’s a rule, they protect them with their own lives,” says Alberto Colonomos, a Jewish man born in 1933 in what was then Yugoslavia. He was 10 years old when his family fled to Albania.

“There were about 7,200 Jews living in that area. They deported them to the concentration camps and they deported them all the way to Treblinka. They killed them all, nobody came back. But about 50 families escaped a week or two weeks before the deportation.”

The Jewish family that lived with the Kazazi family (pictured) escaped the Nazis during searches by scrambling through connecting doorways to other homes. “Our parents were not very religious, but they believed in the Koran and Besa,” the grown Kazazi children say. “Without the Koran there is no Besa. Without Besa there is no Koran.”

A wealthy man who worked in a tobacco factory took in the Colonomos family. Unlike many Jews in other parts of Europe who survived the war in cellars and attics, Jews in Albania were given Muslim names and treated as honored guests. Colonomos explains that under Besa, Albanians put their guests before their own family.

“They really hid us with their lives. They knew that the Germans – the consequences if they catch them were very, very stiff. So they would be shot. But when they have that Besa, they will not denounce their guests. They were amazing people.”

Be sure to read the whole thing. I’ll not stop criticizing Islam, but this is a reminder of the good that can be found among all people, and it’s fitting for the season. I hope the exhibit comes my way; I’d like to see it.

via Joshua Treviño

UPDATE: Mr. Gershman has a web site devoted to his exhibit, with photos and stories from the time.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Do not mess with the farmer’s daughter

October 1, 2009

Especially when she knows how to wield an axe…

Farmer’s daughter disarms terrorist and shoots him dead with AK47.

Rukhsana Kausar, 21, was with her parents and brother in Jammu and Kashmir when three gunmen, believed to be Pakistani militants, forced their way in and demanded food and beds for the night.
Their house in Shahdra Sharief, Rajouri district, is about 20 miles from the ceasefire line between Indian and Pakistani forces.
It is close to dense forests known as hiding places for fighters from the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which carried out the Mumbai terrorist attack last November.
Militants often demand food and lodging in nearby villages.
When they forced their way into Miss Kausar’s home, her father Noor Mohammad refused their demands and was attacked.
His daughter was hiding under a bed when she heard him crying as the gunmen thrashed him with sticks. According to police, she ran towards her father’s attacker and struck him with an axe. As he collapsed, she snatched his AK47 and shot him dead.
She also shot and wounded another militant as he made his escape.

Rukhsana Kausar, 21, was with her parents and brother in Jammu and Kashmir when three gunmen, believed to be Pakistani militants, forced their way in and demanded food and beds for the night.

Their house in Shahdra Sharief, Rajouri district, is about 20 miles from the ceasefire line between Indian and Pakistani forces.

It is close to dense forests known as hiding places for fighters from the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which carried out the Mumbai terrorist attack last November.

Militants often demand food and lodging in nearby villages.

When they forced their way into Miss Kausar’s home, her father Noor Mohammad refused their demands and was attacked.

His daughter was hiding under a bed when she heard him crying as the gunmen thrashed him with sticks. According to police, she ran towards her father’s attacker and struck him with an axe. As he collapsed, she snatched his AK47 and shot him dead.

She also shot and wounded another militant as he made his escape.

Xena has nothing on Rukhsana. Not only did she save her family; I’ve no doubt that, had the father acceded to the jihadists’ demands and had they discovered the daughter, she would have been raped, as sex with captives is allowed by the Qur’anic injunction “what your right hands possess.”

The article goes on to mention that Ms. Kausar may be awarded a presidential citation for her bravery and a monetary prize, the latter a reward should one of the Islamic terrorists turn out to have been a highly wanted suspect. We hope also there’s a relocation program for her and her family, as it’s certain Lashkar-e-Taiba will target them for revenge.

Meanwhile, may other women suffering under Islam learn from her bravery.

(hat tip: Fausta)

LINKS: More at The Jawa Report.

RELATED READING: The Caged Virgin; Infidel; The Trouble With Islam Today; The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran.

(cross-posted at No Runny Eggs)