To inspire new research into instances of collaboration between the Muslim and Jewish communities, the Righteous Muslim Exhibition is being launched at the Board of Deputies of British Jews in Bloomsbury, central London.
This exhibition aims to celebrate the role that Muslims played in saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust.
Photographs of 70 Muslims who sheltered Jews during World War II will be displayed with their detailed stories of heroism.
Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to victims of the Holocaust, honours nearly 25,000 persons who risked their lives to protect the Jewish community during Nazi Germany’s reign of terror.
Hardaga famiy from Bosnia are among the “righteous who gave shelter to the Jewish Kavilio family, during German occupation of Bosnia in 1943.
After a couple of decades, during the Bosnia Civil War, the Hardagas were themselves saved by the Kavilios.
Continuous shelling of Sarajevo led the Kavilio family appeal to the President of Bosnia to allow their former saviors to travel to Israel.
The exhibition demonstrates the story of Bosnian Muslims who preserved the Jewish traditions by guarding a 600-year-old manuscript, Sarajevo Haggadah. When Spain expelled the country’s Jews in 1492, a refugee carried the book to Italy. It was taken to Bosnia by a Rabbi and was sold to the National Museum in 1894. When Haggadah was seized by a Nazi official during World War II, couple of men spirited it through Nazi checkpoints and carried it to a village above Sarajevo.
A Muslim clerk had kept it hidden in a mosque until the war ended. Muslim museum director, Dr Enver Imanovic during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war along with various Serb policemen risked sniper fire to reach the the museum and preserved the Haggadah at the National Bank and was kept there until the end of the war.
According to the 2011 Census, there are 2.7m Muslims and 263,000 Jews in England and Wales and it is believed that this exhibition will inspire young followers of both religions to research this area in partnership.
Through unearthing further tales of co-operation between Muslims and Jews, the exhibition aims to counterbalance emerging narratives that set the two religions at odds.
(The original copy was reported in BBC).