Muhamed Jusic was quiet throughout much of our journey and we only learned afterwards why. He had his own story to tell. From the Kenyan mall massacre and the Boston Marathon to renewed violence in Iraq, Muslim extremists capture the headlines. Yet between the grim captions, there are other stories and there is hope. We, a Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Jew, know this firsthand.
We experienced an unprecedented, some even called it an historic trip, that involved 12 influential Muslim imams, professors, and business leaders from around the world. These Muslim leaders agreed to travel with us, some against the opinion of family and friends and with safety concerns back home. Why? Because the trip was to Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Poland and the Holocaust is commonly misunderstood and misused within the Muslim world to foment anti-Semitism and anti-West hate. These leaders felt obligated to bear witness to the truth. They then took home what they saw and condemned anti-Semitism in all forms.
Among them was Muhamed Jusic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country with its own atrocities and rise of evil. “I could not stop comparing horrors of Holocaust with my own experience and childhood memories of ‘ethnic cleansing’. It was very hard to put into words all my overwhelming feelings and thoughts while visiting actual places where people became the victims of the biggest atrocity in European history. I feared I might sound pathetic, after all, what could I possibly say that was not said by so many before me? How can I possibly make some sense out of it all when the greatest minds in human history cannot explain to us what happened to humanity? My own story haunted me during trip. But I did not have courage, unlike many of the Holocaust survivors we met, to openly share my story with the others.”