A Egyptian store owner situated on a prestigious promenade often called the “Champs Elysées” of Cairo is defending naming his shop after Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.
The front of the store bears Hitler’s name and even uses a swastika as its logo.
Store owner Osama Farouk insisted in remarks to Gulf News that his decision to use such symbolism was innocent. “I adore the name and the logo, and decided to put them on the front of my shop.”
To Farouk’s dismay, a number of Egyptians visiting the area have openly rebuked him and spit at the store in protest. At least one tried to forcibly remove the Hitler sign.
“It doesn’t deserve all this trouble,” Farouk maintained. “Why are people so angry? I don’t get involved in politics.”
But that’s only half the story. At least as many people have no problem with Farouk naming his store after one of history’s most notorious figures.
“Praise Allah, I have many clients who come to the store because of the quality of my goods,” he said.
Israeli diplomats have often explained that Hitler and the Nazis are seen very differently in Asia than in the West.
“A lot of people in Asia are not aware of what happened in Europe,” noted one diplomat. “Unfortunately, many people think that Hitler was a hero, not a monster, and so it is important we reinforce Holocaust education.”
But among most Arabs, the phenomenon cannot be written off as simple ignorance. Many Muslims joined the Nazi ranks at the behest of their imams, and the Palestinian Arab leadership was closely allied with Hitler.
For years Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf has been a best seller in the Arab world, not because local Arabs are unaware of who he was, but because the Nazi ideology speaks to the Islamist mindset.