It has been reported that the Chief Executive of the controversial organisation Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) compared Israel to Hitler in a Facebook post.
MEND claims to seek to “encourage British Muslims within local communities to be more actively involved in British media and politics.”
In a 2014 Facebook post, Azhar Qayum, MEND’s Chief Executive, is alleged to have written: “So generous, push four million Palestinians off their land, then relinquish a tiny corner of it, whilst maintaining a crippling blockade even on that, invade every few months killing a thousand or two at will…Israel’s generosity is like the ‘generosity of Hitler’.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is an example of antisemitism.”
The comment was reportedly made in a Facebook debate in relation to the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, and is it is understood that he made the comments before he joined MEND.
Mr Qayum reportedly addressed the post, saying: “I used the word as you would of any nation that had recently used its armed forces to kill thousands of unarmed civilians and NOT as an insult to any people. Having had a huge amount of anti-racism training in my MEND years I would now not use the word ‘Hitler’ in this context, particularly as I now know how some have made antisemitic comments when making comparisons to Nazi Germany.
“However, it was never intended in any way to be antisemitic and any insinuation that it was will be challenged. I will continue to work with all communities, including the Jewish community, to challenge all types of racism and bigotry, including antisemitism.”