Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews During the Holocaust
By Norman H. Gershman Central Gallery
Albania, a European country with a Muslim majority, succeeded where other European nations failed in dealing with Nazi Germany. Almost all Jews living within Albanian borders during the German occupation “ those of Albanian origin and refugees alike “ were saved.
In a five-year project, Colorado-based photographer Norman Gershman set out to collect the names of righteous, non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust. He discovered that some of the names were of Albanian Muslims. He then began a quest to meet and photograph the Albanian rescuers or their descendents. During his interviews, when he asked why they had rescued Jews, the resounding response was "Besa," the code of honor deeply rooted in Albanian culture and incorporated in the faith of Albanian Muslims.
As Gershman later would explain, â€œThere was no government conspiracy, no underground railroad, no organized resistance of any kind - only individual Albanians, acting alone, to save the lives of people whose lives were in immediate danger. My portraits of these people, and their stories, are meant to reflect their humanity, their dignity, their religious and moral convictions, and their quiet courage."
Norman Gershmanâ€™s mission is to use art as the primary form of expression to break down stereotypes and build upon the deep roots of humanism that cross racial, ethnic, religious and national boundaries. His photographs are purposeful. What comes though is his overriding belief in the goodness of people reflected in his portraits.
A film documentary of "Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II" is currently in production for international release in early 2009.
The exhibit is traveled by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum and is underwritten by Alnoor Bandali; Bank of Texas; Afshi Charania; Jeannine and Patrick Flynn; Grocers Supply Co., Inc.; Heimbinder Family Foundation; Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation; Hildebrand Fund; Amin Lakhani; Linbeck Family Charitable Foundation; Mach Industrial Group, Inc.; Marathon Oil Corporation; Moez Mangalji; Mildred Yount Manion Charitable Foundation; Marek Family Foundation; Amin Mawji; Akbar Mohamed; Sadru Momin; Moes Nasser; Fasil Sharrif; Margaret E. and Kenneth T. Snyder, Sr.; Strake Foundation; Farid Virani; Malik Waliany; with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.
The public is invited to a free preview reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, 2009. Visit www.hmh.org/register.asp to RSVP online. For more information, call 713-942-8000, ext. 100, or e-mail email@example.com.
SUCCESSFUL NAATIA MUSHAERA ON 2.21.14
45 PICTURES AT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157641382648224/
August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916
Mirza A Beg
PLANNED MUSLIMS RESPONSE TO QUR'AN BURNING BY PASTOR JONES ON 9/11/13 IN MULBERRY, FLORIDA
We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.
Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”
God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.
We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.
Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.
As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.
We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.
We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.
We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.
Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.
Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.
We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.
The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.