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The silent holocaust is a phrase that is used to refer to several unrelated events. One usage is abortion among some involved in pro-life activism. One group has even named itself Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust. Another usage is among certain Jewish communal and religious leaders when they describe the assimilation and intermarriage of Jews with gentiles. Others still have used the term to refer to the AIDS epidemic, particularly in Africa. This is because it kills millions, but supposedly is "silent" in comparative attention. The term is often highly controversial, regardless of use.
Use in pro-life circles
There are pro-life activists who take the position that since in the United States alone over 1 million abortions occur each year, with between 25 and 35 million in the period from Roe v. Wade to the present, this would count as a holocaust. This is because they view all abortion as the killing of an innocent human life. They deem it a "Silent Holocaust" due to the perceived lack of outrage.
The term is highly controversial and many Jewish people have found it demeaning to the Holocaust itself. Caroline Cox, Baroness Cox praised a book by a Nigerian missionary that directly compared abortion to the Holocaust, among other things. This event caused controversy as have similar comparisons made by Michael S. Steele and other politicians.
Referring to the Worldwide Extermination of Muslims and Media Apologists
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This usage refers to the worldwide set of conflicts, largely led by Neoconservative and right-wing elements of the US Government, focusing on mass civilian destruction in the Muslim world. One example would be the 1.5 million civilian deaths between 1991 and 2000, caused by the United States-led food sanctions on Iraq and destruction of Iraq's civilian infrastructure. This conflict, amongst many, are referred to as silent because they are almost entirely ignored and often denied by main stream media in the United States. In some cases, media figures even actively encourage the practice. CNN host Glenn Beck, for example, warned that if Muslims don't "act now" by "step[ping] to the plate" to condemn terrorism, they "will be looking through a razor wire fence...." -- allusions to a coming concentration camp and potential Holocaust against Muslims.
The term is highly controversial and many Jewish people have found it demeaning to the Nazi-led Holocaust, particularly because of the rhetoric among some Muslims about pushing, driving or throwing "Jews into the sea" while extinguishing the nation of Israel.
Referring to assimilation of Jews
Many Orthodox Judaism rabbis refer to assimilation as a type of "Holocaust". Assimilation  is the leading cause for the shrinkage of almost all Jewish populations in Western countries since World War II, and it has been called the Silent Holocaust  in comparison to the genocide against Jews during World War II by communal leaders such as Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald of the National Jewish Outreach Program, perhaps the best-known popularizer of the phrase.
Use of the term "silent holocaust" in reference to Jewish intermarriage is common:
- "More than 50% of the Jewish People today are intermarrying, in some places it is as high as 90%.....Intermarriage has created a silent holocaust in this generation..." 
- "...Unlike the persecution that the Jewish people have endured by the hands of others for over 3,000 years, Jews on this continent now face a "silent holocaust" stemming from within their very own communities and their very own households..." 
- "There have been many other arguments offered against intermarriage...Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, 12 million were left afterwards. Today there are only 13 million Jews in the world. Where are the rest that by natural increase should number close to 20 million? The answer is that the silent holocaust of assimilation has caused them to disappear as Jews." 
- "There is a Holocaust taking place in America right now. We can't hear it, because there are no barking dogs; we can't see it because there are no goose-stepping Nazi soldiers and no concentration camps; we can't smell it because there are no gas chambers. But the net result is exactly the same. If we fail to act now, if we fail to share with our young Jews the beauty and meaningfulness of Jewish life and Jewish heritage, there will be few Jews left in the next generation who will even know that there ever was a Holocaust of European Jews. The "silent Holocaust" will have done its job. Hitler will have emerged victorious.
Controversy with the Assimilation usage
As noted above, use of the term "Silent Holocaust" is highly controversial and occurs mainly among Orthodox Jews of Conservative and Nationalist tendencies. An especially outspoken opponent of the term and the way of thinking behind it is Shulamit Aloni, former Israeli Education Minister, who considered its use "an insult to and desecration of the Holocaust victims' memory".Adam Keller, editor of the Tel Aviv-based The Other Israel, spoke at length on the issue during a lecture tour of the US in September 2004, especially in the course of an intense and highly emotive debate with right-wing Jewish hecklers on the university campus at Fullerton, California. Among other things he said on that occasion:
"I find this term, 'Silent Holocaust', more obscene than all the pornography in the world put together. The Holocaust, from which my mother and my father barely escaped and in which many of their relatives perished, was the systematic genocide and mass murder of millions of people, solely because of their ethnic and religious identity. The so-called "silent holocaust" is the freely chosen exercise by human beings of the right to choose a spouse and live a happy and satisfying life with him or her, a right specifically guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the State of Israel is one of the first signatories. Only a monstrously perverted mind can possibly conceive of making such a comparison. This comes from a mindset in which an individual counts for nothing, his or her wishes count for nothing, and the individual's only worth is as being a component of an overwhelming, all-supreme Nation or Ethnos. This is a racist way of thinking, a fascist way of thinking. It is, I must say, Hitler's way of thinking, and I am deeply ashamed that some Jews have taken it for their own."
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