Mehnaz Afridi, PhD


Dr. Afridi is Professor of Religious studies and Director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College. She teaches courses on Islam, the Holocaust, Genocide, comparative religion, and Feminism. Her recent book Shoah through Muslim Eyes (Academic Studies Press, 2017) was nominated for the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research and the Jacob Schnitzer Book Award. She is currently working on a book, The Wounded Muslim, (Lexington Books, forthcoming) and a co-edited book on “International Approaches to the Holocaust”, (Nebraska University Press, forthcoming). In 2019 she was awarded the Costello Award for teaching excellence in the School of Liberal Arts at Manhattan College.

Dr. Afridi obtained her Ph.D. from University of South Africa, her M.A. and B.A. from Syracuse University.


The Blue Angel and the Holocaust

Dr. Afridi’s project is conceived in the form of historical fiction, and is grounded in a story of a Muslim narrator Inayat Noor Khan and the testimony of an Algerian Jewish survivor Sidney Chouraqui. Dr. Afridi’s historical fiction piece explores the role of Muslims during the Holocaust, examining historical and religious anti-Semitism in the Arab world and their consequences that led to the denial and relativism of the Holocaust in this part of the world. On the other hand, the piece also demonstrates the role of Muslims as both rescuers and victims under the Vichy government in France and Algeria, and shows how entrenched the colonial forces were in Arab/Muslim lands during World War II. Dr. Afridi aims to illustrate the complex intersections of Arab, Muslim, and Jewish (co)existence and persecution, examining Muslim perception of Jews and Jewish perception of Muslims at the end of Colonialism and the Holocaust. Through the historical fiction piece, she analyzes the multidimensional problems of univocal memory of each community through Jewish and Muslim perspectives.

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