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January 10, 2023 4:15 pm
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Hamas Denounces UAE Decision to Include Holocaust Education in Curriculum

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avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Yahya al-Sinwar, head of the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, attends a meeting with people at a hall on the seashore in Gaza City.

Terrorist group Hamas criticized the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday for its decision to include Holocaust education in its school curriculum.

“We condemn and denounce the UAE embassy’s announcement in Washington that its country has included materials on the ‘Holocaust’ in its educational curricula, and we consider that support for the Zionist narrative and a form of cultural normalization,” said Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for the group, placing the word Holocaust in scare quotes.

The statement was first reported by the Shehab News Agency, a Hamas affiliated news agency.

The statement comes just days after Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi, a member of the UAE Federal National Council, confirmed the country’s intention to include the Holocaust in its curriculum and explained that “memorializing victims of the Holocaust is crucial.”

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Nuaimi added that “public figures and scholars should be encouraged to discuss the Holocaust and protect common human values while leaving political differences.”

The UAE was a partner in the 2020 Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between it and Israel.

Hamas has long denied that the Holocaust occurred and has opposed teaching Palestinian students about it. In 2009, the group denounced the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) because it believed the refugee organization was preparing to provide students a textbook that included a chapter on the Holocaust. UNRWA denied the claim, drawing further criticism for appearing to concede to the wishes of antisemites.

In an open letter to UNRWA, Hamas described the Holocaust as “a lie invented by the Zionists” and its spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri, said, “Regardless of the controversy, we oppose forcing the issue of the so-called Holocaust onto the syllabus, because it aims to reinforce acceptance of the occupation of Palestinian land.”

In 2011, a Hamas official called the Holocaust “a lie that has crumbled,” prompting criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, which condemned the statement as “disturbing.”

For its part, UAE has steadily promoted coexistence and positive engagement with Jews and Christians, creating what Impact-se, an Israeli education watchdog, has described as the “most tolerant and peaceful Arab or Muslim majority country curriculum.”

The 2020 Abraham Accords are discussed in materials for UAE students in grades 6, 8, and 12, along with endorsements by leading Islamic UAE organizations. The material also describes the Abraham Accords as “helping Arab and Islamic causes, derived from an Islam intent on containing extremism and enhancing a global atmosphere of tolerance and cooperation,” an Impact-se report says. Radical Islamism is strongly discouraged as a “chief threat” to prosperity, and the Palestinian cause is no longer portrayed as the key to solving all of the region’s challenges.

On Thursday, Impact-se CEO Marcus Sheff said UAE is “leading the way in peace and tolerance for education in the region.”

“Impact-se is delighted that they have taken this important step in educating about the Shoah and humbled to have partnered with the Ministry Education,” he added.

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