Muslim scholar Focuses on Holocaust Studies

Mehnaz AfridiIn a sane world, there would be nothing in any way eyebrow-raising about a Muslim scholar teaching a course about the Holocaust at a Roman Catholic college.

No, no, scratch that. In a sane world, there would not have been a Holocaust.

But suppose that after the war ended and the camps were liberated, the world came to its collective senses, recoiled in horror from what it saw, and decided that such evil never could happen again. In that world, there would be nothing at all surprising about a Muslim scholar teaching a course about the Holocaust at a Roman Catholic college.

We do not live in such a world. So it is both a surprise and an ongoing act of courage that Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, who is the director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College in Riverdale — and who will give the keynote address at the Interfaith Holocaust Memorial Service in Ridgewood, New Jersey this year  has chosen to devote her life to it.

She lived in Pakistan, Dubai, London, and Geneva. Later, she moved to Scarsdale, N.Y., where she finished high school.

Dr. Afridi speaks an unaccented, colloquial English — occasionally she will come up with usages that are not entirely familiar here, but that is rare. “I feel very native in English, but I learned it when I was 9,” she said. “I worked at not having an accent, because as a teacher, you don’t want to sound like a foreigner.” But the language she spoke at home when she was growing up was Urdu, she had a tutor who taught her classical Arabic, and she “is comfortable in four or five languages,” she said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NEW JERSEY JEWISH STANDARD 

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