Naz Shah, a member of the British House of Parliament, spoke yesterday during a debate on a measure that would ban Donald Trump from coming to the United Kingdom for a state visit. The measure was considered in response to Trump’s establishment of a travel ban targeting Muslims that has left tens of thousands of travelers stranded or detained around the world.
Shah noted the similarities of Trump’s actions to the Nazi path to genocide. She commented: “I will start by sharing an experience from this weekend, when I hosted the Jewish Board of Deputies in my office in Bradford. I shared with them a publication from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, “Path to Genocide”, which sets out the stages along that path. In stage 1, “classification”:
“The differences between people are not respected. There’s a division of ‘us’ and ‘them’. This can be carried out through the use of stereotypes, or excluding people who are perceived to be different.”
Stage 2 is “a visual manifestation of hatred. Jews in Nazi occupied Europe were forced to wear yellow stars to show that they were ‘different’.”
In stage 4, “dehumanisation”: “Those who are perceived as ‘different’ are treated with no form of human right or personal dignity. During the Genocide in Rwanda, Tutsis were referred to as ‘cockroaches’; the Nazis referred to Jews as ‘vermin’.”
This weekend, I went to the Holocaust memorial service at Bradford cathedral. Rudi Leavor, who leads the Bradford synagogue, shared his story of how he fled Nazi Germany. His father, who was a dentist, took the family away and they fled persecution. As they left on the train, they saw a family on the platform who were the last to wave them off; that family did not survive.
For me, the matter is very personal. It is personal because if my daughter decides to wear a hijab, what are the chances of her not being persecuted? We have seen videos and read news reports of hijabs being ripped off and of women being thrown down steps just because of what they are wearing, and here is the so-called leader of the free world telling us that it is okay to ban Muslims. Donald John Trump says that he is tackling terrorism with his Executive order, but the fact is that the chance of being murdered in the US in a terrorist attack committed by a refugee is one in 3.64 billion each year. More people have been killed in America by gun crime than by people from the countries that have been banned. If the President really wants to save Americans from death, he needs to look at gun crime.”