The Arab world has also been rocked by the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, according to the Middle East Research Media Institute (MEMRI) – as the attacks opened up an unprecedented debate on free speech.
US-based Egyptian author Magdi Khalil and Tunisian scholar Shakir Al-Sharafi clashed in a heated TV debate on the subject, aired on Al-Jazeera's TV show the "Opposite Direction" last week.
Khalil questioned why the Arab world consistently twists the facts about Jewish and world history.
"The Jewish Holocaust is an indisputable and irrefutable fact," said Khalil. "Why is it only the Muslims who deny the Holocaust?"
Al-Sharafi took the opposite approach, claiming – as is popular in the Arab world – that the Charlie Hebdo attack had been a conspiracy.
But Khalil argued that some facts were indisputable.
"The European and American courts have agreed that the historical debate among historians should not extend to indisputable historical facts such as the Holocaust, slavery in the US, and apartheid in South Africa," Khalil noted. "No one can say that there was no slavery in the US. Not only would this be immortal, but he would go to prison. The blacks would take him to court, because he would be inciting against real people, living today."
"Protection should be awarded to human beings," he continued. "[Fighting] anti-Semitism constitutes defending Jews. The Jewish Holocaust is an indisputable and irrefutable fact. The entire world has recognized this, so why can't the Muslims? Why does Islam harbor such terrible religious hatred towards the Jews? Why is it only the Muslims who deny the Holocaust?"
Khalil then argued that the matter is also an issue of Muslim culture and tradition.
"Even if the Muslims killed the entire population of six billion and lived alone, they would start killing one another, because they believe in the notion of the 'Saved Sect' – that there are 70 sects and only one will be saved," he said. "They must annihilate each other. The Islamists' agenda is about annihilation, blood, hatred, destruction of the world, and destruction of Western civilization. The most significant pillar of Western civilization is freedom of speech."
Regardless, Al-Sharafi insisted that Khalil's remarks about the Holocaust were a "historical mistake."
"Roger Garaudy wrote a book in which he did not deny the Holocaust, but he did deny the imaginary figures," he claimed. "It should be noted that Roger Garaudy proved that some Jews had helped the Nazi Party during the Holocaust, in order to create a certain history – a dramatic image enabling them to gain the loyalty and solidarity of the West."
"Germany and the West are still paying the price for this imaginary Holocaust," he fired. "Thus, they founded an advanced military base for the West."
"Let me return to the Charlie Hebdo operation," he continued. "This operation was filmed in advance, in the command center of some intelligence agency: There were no corpses, and no blood, and the operation took place in broad daylight. The true target of this operation was the mosques, the grace of which has spread throughout Europe."
Al-Sharafi further insisted that any freedom of speech in the West is false.
"Since when has there ever been freedom of speech in the West?" he insisted. "The U.S. consecrated its existence with the annihilation of the Indians. The West consecrated its existence only after it learned tolerance from the Muslims in Andalusia. The West consecrated its existence only after learning freedom of speech from the Muslims."
"[The West] was founded on blood, through Crusades and the colonization and plundering of other peoples," he continued. "Look at Algeria, the country of one million martyrs. The same France that talks about freedom of speech killed one million Muslims. In Tunisia too… They divided the Arab and Muslim world. What West is my colleague talking about?"
After more discussion on the Holocaust, the moderator the debate insisted that the argument is not "about Judaism but about the prostitution of Western media, which does not allow a single word of criticism against Israel."
"We are not talking about Judaism," he said. "Judaism is a sacred religion whether you like it or not."
"These are empty words, nothing but empty words," he said. "On a daily basis, mosques around the Arab world… If you record a single Friday sermon in any Islamic country, you will encounter curses against the Jews and the Christians.
"Nazi propaganda led to the killing of six million Jews, which is the greatest massacre in the entire history of mankind," he continued. "People were put into gas chambers in the 20th century. That is why the world criminalized this racial hatred against the Jews."
"You demand special treatment for Islam and the Muslims in a secular society, although all religions face vehement attacks," he concluded.