Aladdin project

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The Foundation For the memory of Holocaust has launched Aladdin project at UNESCO, a project sponsored by the Jacques Chirac foundation. This project starts from a more and more obvious finding: the Holocaust denial is witnessing a renewed intensity in Europe but also in the Arab world. The Aladdin Project translates into Arabic, Persian and Turkish, objective information about the Holocaust, the Jewish-Muslim relations and Jewish culture aiming at conflict prevention, defense of language diversity and dialogue.

The project consists of an electronic “Aladdin library”, including on its website books translated into Arabic, Turkish and Persian, an informational website in 5 languages about the Holocaust ( « Holocaust, a call to conscience « ), Jewish culture and history of the relations between Muslims and Jews and a summer school in order to prevent the development of conflict.

The “conscience committee” of  Aladdin project consists of more than 200 personalities from the Arab-Muslim world. Moreover, European figures support the project (personalities including Mr Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal and President of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Mr. Jacques Chirac, former President of France, President of the Chirac Foundation, Mr. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, former Head of State of Mauritania, member of the Committee of Honor of the Chirac Foundation, Abdurrahman Wahid, former President of the Republic of Indonesia, President of the Wahid Foundation, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Mrs. Simone Veil, Honorary President of the Foundation for the memory of the Holocaust, David de Rothschild, Chairman of the Foundation for the Memory of the Holocaust, Catherine Colonna, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of France to UNESCO, Mr Jacques Andréani, former Ambassador of France and Chairman of the Conscious Committee of Aladdin Project.)

The online « Aladdin » Library

The on-line library allows the Arabic and Persian speaking public to read books related to the Holocaust for free. The site of the library says it is acting in a spirit of « mutual understanding between peoples of different cultures, promoting a climate of tolerance and friendship through a dialogue and the rejection of memory conflicts and Holocaust denial. The library is also involved in the creation of a network of non-governmental organizations, international institutions and private publishers in Europe and in the Arab-Muslim world to provide multilingual, reliable and easily accessible information on the Internet.

The Scientific Committee of the Library is chaired by Ambassador Jacques Andréani. The committee consists of professionals with expertise in history, politics, literature, culture, social sciences and the world of publishing. The Committee selects books relying on the belief that “knowledge is the foundation of a peaceful coexistence and harmony”.  What defines the criterion for the choice of books is « What does a Muslim knows of Jews’ history and Judaism? and, conversely, what are the information that a Jewish or Christian citizen has on Muslim cultures and Islamic faith? »

The Aladdin project website -« The Holocaust, a call to conscious »

The approach of the site itself is exposed: for the project managers it is intended to show that « The Holocaust must stop being “their” story and not “ours” to become a common history belonging to all humanity: a history that Muslims and non-Muslims must study and we must all learn. » In the project « Call to Conscience », the independence of the Aladdin project is recalled. The legitimacy on which the approach relies is highlighted by saying that « Jews and Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, have lived together for centuries » and that « The first anti-Jewish stereotypes have emerged in the Muslim world in the nineteenth century with the conquest of the Muslim world by European colonial powers « and concluding that » (We) believe that the Holocaust, which is an unprecedented disaster transcends all political, religious, ethnic and cultural divisions. (We) call on all men and women of conscience in the world to give their support to this project of truth. »

The site is built around informative topics such as « Why this website? », “Muslims and Jews », « History of the Holocaust », « Children and the Holocaust”, « History in Documents », « The denial of the Holocaust », « Guide to Judaism for Muslims » but also about more interactive topics as « opinions » with intellectuals’ articles particularly from the Arab world, « Comments column » with personalities’ editorials, « Chronicles » that lists upcoming events related to the question, or « Focus » which is directly related to the timeliness of the Aladdin project. The site also offers interviews of the Holocaust victims in « Voices and Faces » section as well as « 40 questions and answers » about Jews and Judaism, « The World and the Holocaust, » « Essays and Articles » and « press review”.

It is therefore a very comprehensive and educationalist website primarily aiming at a Muslim public and often via people coming from the Muslim world and putting the Holocaust in its historical and political context while linking it with the current world situation.

An initiative welcomed by the King of Morocco

The launching Conference of the Aladdin project « for an intercultural dialogue based on historical truth, knowledge and mutual respect » opened on Friday March 27th at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The king of Morocco, Mohammed VI had prepared on this occasion a message for the participants in which he recalled that his « reading of the Holocaust and that of (his) people are not made of amnesia », criticizing a « community of nations (that) has been for too long silent towards a selective reading of this dark and regressive part of history that has allowed all fantasies to flourish. » For the King, the recognition of the duty of memory must inspire the desire to promote and defend the truth about the Holocaust.