I’ve written about Molyneux here before, so I won’t belabor the points about him except to say that he repeats in this video a recent claim he made about the yellow star of David not being an evocation of the Holocaust because (I paraphrase): “it was introduced years before the Holocaust began.” Suffice it to say this assertion is false. The yellow star was instituted in Germany, Austria, and the Protectorate only when the war began, and it was subsequently immediately applied to Jews in Poland and other occupied territories as they were shoved into ghettos, where many died and those who didn’t were by and large sent to death camps wearing those very stars of David. Molyneux might be technically correct if by “years” we mean “around 1.5 years.”
As far Loomer, who is well known as harsh critic of Islam, she used the opportunity with Molyneux to defend her wearing of the yellow star to point out that Muslims were complicit in the Holocaust. For people unlike those of us here who have actually studied the matter, this might seem like surprising news. It’s not. What is remarkable, however, is the extent to which Loomer’s presentation is an oversimplication.
Yes, SS units were formed from populations in Bosnia and Albania. They were also formed from every other country where the Nazis were the occupation force. That they were drawn from Bosnia and Albania too isn’t particularly special. What’s significant about these units is, as inaccurately limned by Loomer, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, was involved in helping to organize these units. What Loomer omits is that the Muslims from these areas had previously been forbidden by their local imams from collaborating with the local fascists; that al-Husseini got them to collaborate is more a testament to his personal influence than the fact that he was Muslim.
A few other points about these two countries during the war bears mention. First, in neither country were native Jewish population harmed by the Muslim population until the Nazis arrived. Thus, in these countries, we have examples of the kinds of violence witnessed elsewhere, particularly the Baltic States, where the entry of Nazi troops occasioned an outbreak of anti-Semitic violence. In fact, in Bosnia and Albania, the violence was not spontaneous as it was in the Baltics; rather, only once these units had been formed and set loose by the Nazi occupying forces were Jews harmed by them. To claim, therefore, that the men being Muslim was decisive in their killing of Jews is a gross misstatement.
It turns out, that in the case of Albania, the move to deploy the population to kill Jews was so unsuccessful that it was one of only three countries in Europe occupied by or allied with the Nazis that flatly refused to turn over its Jewish population for extermination. The other two are Denmark and Bulgaria – the latter of which had the fourth largest Muslim population in Europe in 1941 (after Albania, Bosnia, and Turkey).
Turkey, of course, was neutral but was and is a Muslim country. Its primary importance during the Holocaust is that it provided transit for Jews fleeing to Palestine – particularly those fleeing from Romania. It’s hard to say therefore that the role played by Turkey during the Holocaust was one that would reflect negatively on Muslims.
Finally, during the Holocaust, the leader of the second-largest Arab country, Sultan Muhammad V of Morocco, refused to allow the Jews of Morocco to be deported and only under duress relented to allowing some (but not all) proposed anti-Jewish legislation be imposed by the Vichy French.
In short, compared with other religious communities in Europe, the case of Muslims in Europe (and North Africa) during the Holocaust is a mixed bag. There were certainly villains – the Mufti principal among them. But there were also heroes and rescuers and people who refused to participate in the murder or betrayal of their Jewish neighbors. Loomer’s statements are a disservice to people who should be receiving her gratitude.