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Committee member Safia Aoude links to well-known Holocaust denier and accuses the Danish People's Party of being Nationalsocialist
By Lars Hedegaard and Helle Merete Brix
Apparently not all members of the Conservative People's Party – which is part of Denmark's governing coalition of conservatives and liberals – are certain that the SS used poisonous gas to kill Jews in the Nazi concentration camps. For one, Safia Aoude, a member of the Conservative Party's steering committee for the Party's Østerbro district of Copenhagen, expresses her doubts.
A law graduate from Copenhagen University, Ms Aoude keeps busy with a number of professional tasks including that of teaching history and civics at a Copenhagen primary school, the private International Arabian School, DIA. Like all private schools in Denmark, the DIA is entitled to state support amounting to 85 per cent of its expenditures.
It must have been in her capacity as a history teacher that Ms Aoude on March 8 2007 took one of her classes to visit the Museum of Danish Resistance 1940-1945. Her observations from the visit are placed on her blog, safiaaoude.blogspot.com, and Sappho.dk has downloaded them on March 17, 2007.
Under a photograph of a Zyklon B label, Ms Aoude has written this comment: "Some historians claim that Zyklon B was used to annihilate concentration camp prisoners while revisionists claim it was used to disinfect the camps from lice and rodents." This wording seems to indicate that as her point of departure, history teacher Aoude ascribes equal weight to both "theories".
So as to further underline that the so-called revisionists – whose distinguishing characteristic is that they either doubt or deny that the Nazis murdered between five and six million Jews among other places in extermination camps, where Zyklon B was used for the purpose – are to be taken seriously, Safia Aoude links to a website belonging to "Focal Point Publications" (http://www.fpp.co.uk/). This turns out to be a front for the notorious revisionist David Irving, whose "Newsletter" is prominently featured. Here one finds a rich selection of Nazi propaganda material including several photos of Adolf Hitler and his military escort.
In 1998 Irving lost a libel suit against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt, who had accused him of Holocaust denial, and her publisher Penguin Books. The London court found that Irving was an active Holocaust denier, an anti-semite and a racist, that he consorted with right-wing extremists, who were propagating Neo-Nazism, and that he had deliberately manipulated historical evidence. In 2006 David Irving spent 11 months in an Austrian jail following a conviction for Holocaust denial.
Among Mr Irving's most noted pronouncements is his claim that "more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz" (http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/i/irving-david/).
Whereas our history teacher is uncertain as to the fate of Jews under National Socialist rule, she is in no doubt that the greatest present-day threat emanates from the Danish People's Party, which is one of the three political parties that makes up Denmark's present governing coalition and thus an ally of her own Conservatives. Unfortunately, according to Safia Aoude's blog, the Danish People's Party is "National Socialist" and bent on mass murder.
Ms Aoude's troubled relations to Jews go way back – at least to the 1990s when she was a leader of the now defunct Islamic Student Organization (ISO), of which her husband Hussein Aoude has also been president. An issue of the organization's Newsletter from 1996 reported that six members had been on a morale-boosting tour of Lebanon in order to meet people from Hizbollah. This gave them the opportunity to participate in a celebration of a suicide bomber who had blown himself and 25 Jews up in Tel Aviv.
As its "Political quote of the week" Newsletter no. 7, 1996 quoted Lebanon's former Prime Minister Saeb Salaam for the opinion that "the Jews" control most of the world press.
Safia Aoude's personal life is shrouded in mystery. It is assumed that she came to Denmark in 1978, but she has refused to divulge where she came from. She says that she has received military training abroad – though it is unknown whether this training took place before or after she was kicked out of the Danish National Guard for political reasons, as she herself claims. However, she will not explain where she received this military training.
On the whole she prefers to tell as little as possible that may be useful to the authorities. Another of her now defunct organisations entitled Free United Muslims' Legal Aid (later called Free Muslims' Legal Aid) gave this piece of advice to fellow Muslims: "Never make statements to the police apart from name, date of birth and address." In an interview with the daily Berlingske Tidende on March 23 1997 she explained why she would not divulge the size of the Islamic Student Organization's membership: "There is no reason to help the Security Police more than one has to." Her resolve in this regard appears to have strengthened after the November 1996 issue of the ISO Newsletter had carried a picture of Salman Rushdie with a target between his eyes.
Why should she help the authorities of a country she feels not the least loyalty to? In the Berlingske Tidende interview just mentioned Safia Aoude stated that she did not consider Denmark to be her home despite the fact that she had been granted citizenship there. Her only loyalty was to Islam. Elsewhere she has characterised Denmark as "a small loser country in Scandinavia".
Slaves to alcohol
A similarly condescending attitude to Denmark was prevalent in the ISO. On April 6 1997, the organization's then President Jamahir F. Abdallah told the daily Ekstra Bladet that nobody had any right to tell Muslims where to settle. "Muslims are free people, Danes are slaves to alcohol and lack confidence in their future. You have nobody but yourselves to blame for the fact that Muslims have more children than the Danes and that your social system is being taken advantage of etc. Clever people cheat the less clever."
In the past Safia Aoude's homepage http://www.aoude.dk used to give ample room for Libyan points of view, and sources in the Muslim community believe that she has had – and possibly still has – close relations to the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddaffi's regime.
Safia Aoude's reasons for her membership of the Conservative People's Party – apart from securing a platform for the propagation of her Islamist ideas – are far from clear. What is clear, however, is that the Party has done nothing to check up on her.