Condemnation is raining down on an Arabic magazine in London after it published a column questioning the Holocaust, the Nazi murder of six million Jews during the Second World War.
But while the London police hate crime unit is investigating, and a national Jewish group urged Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government — an advertiser in the publication — to distance itself from the monthly Al Saraha, its publisher says he was unaware of the facts and apologizes to Jewish people.
“I didn’t mean to reject something that happened historically,” Abdul Haidi Shala, speaking in Arabic translated into English, told The London Free Press on Thursday.
“I was curious to know why Hitler killed Jews during the Holocaust, so I read through his article and I found information,” the publisher said.
“I don’t know. History knows,” he said. “I believe in the correct history. If someone told me the correct history was 10 million or 20 million people died, then I’ll believe it as long as it’s correct history.”...
Shala, the magazine’s owner and general manager, said he didn’t know that the facts in the piece, which he said was written by an Egyptian journalist for another publication, were incorrect.Epic fail, dude!
Update: The non-fact-checking publisher doesn't acquit himself any better when interviewed by the CBC:
The magazine's publisher Abdul Hadi Shala said he meant no harm when he selected the article, which was first published in an Egyptian newspaper. He maintains he does not share the editorial stance of the author.
"The opinion here is the writer only, not my opinion," he told CBC News.Riiiiight!
A crucial point to make here: the Ontario government, which had previously advertised in this publication, including in the issue in which this Holocaust editorial (one which, BTW, is fully in line with Arab/Muslim consensus on the subject) appeared, is now saying all the right things:
Angry reaction came from across the province Thursday, including from Ontario Deputy Premier Deb Matthews.
"I want to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the statements in the Al-Saraha article," she said. "Statements like these, filled with hatred, prejudice and lies, have no place in our society."
Matthews says, neither she nor the premier knew the article would be published when they bought advertising space in the magazine. Matthews says the advertising will stop.That's swell, Deb. As is this info:
Until yesterday, the City of London's immigration portal linked to the digital edition of the magazine, but the link has been removed.Wouldn't it be even better, though, if both these governments could get an Arabic speaker (Jonathan Halevi, perhaps?) to vet such publications before having any dealings with them?