The New York Times
 
December 22, 2005
 

Leader of Egypt's Islamist Party Calls Holocaust a Myth

Filed at 9:08 a.m. ET

CAIRO (Reuters) - The head of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition force in parliament, echoed Iran's president on Thursday in describing the World War Two Holocaust of European Jews as a myth.

``Western democracy has attacked everyone who does not share the vision of the sons of Zion as far as the myth of the Holocaust is concerned,'' Mohamed Mahdi Akef said in a statement.

Akef cited as evidence of Western intolerance the cases of French writer Roger Garoudy, who was convicted in France in 1998 of questioning the Holocaust, and British historian David Irving, who faces similar charges in Austria next month.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked an international uproar when he said in a December 14 speech that the Holocaust was a myth.

Some 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis and their allies between 1933 and 1945.

Akef, whose group won 88 of the Egyptian parliament's 454 seats in elections in November and December, made his comment in an attack on the United States' assertion that it is promoting democracy in the Middle East.

He said the U.S. campaign was a cover for promoting its own interests and those of the Zionist movement in the region.

``American democracy ... steers the world into the American orbit delineated by the sons of Zion, so that everyone must wear the Stars and Stripes hat and keep away from the Zionist foster child,'' he wrote in his weekly statement.

He accused the U.S. House of Representatives of hypocrisy when it threatened to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority if the Islamist movement Hamas takes part in January elections.

He also criticized European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana for saying that Europeans might think twice about aid to the Palestinians if Hamas members were in parliament.

Hamas says it is an extension of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928 and which renounced political violence inside Egypt decades ago. Hamas believes in armed struggle to replace Israel with an Islamic state.

Last week the deputy leader of the Brotherhood, Mohamed Habib, asked about Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust, said reports of Nazi attempts to wipe out European Jews might have been exaggerated.

``We don't have confirmed things to enable us to prove this matter or refute it. It needs documentation but what one can be sure of is that there were attacks on the Jews but not by means of gas chambers or perhaps not in these numbers or on this scale,'' Habib told Reuters in an interview.

But Habib said the debate was irrelevant to the situation of the Palestinians. ``What the Jews propagate about there being a Holocaust has nothing to do with the way they treat the Palestinians on the land of Palestine,'' he said.