Muslim leaders visit Auschwitz, May 20, 2013. (screen capture: Youtube/JewishNewsOne)
A group of Muslim leaders from around the globe, including the President of the Islamic Society of North America, issued a joint statement condemning denial — or justification — of the Holocaust and rejecting anti-Semitism in any form.
“We bear witness to the absolute horror and tragedy of the Holocaust where millions upon millions of human souls perished, more than half of whom were people of the Jewish faith,” said the missive, which was signed by 10 leading Islamic figures in Warsaw on Monday, AFP reported. “We acknowledge, as witnesses, that it is unacceptable to deny this historical reality and declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics.”
Among the signatories were Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America, and India’s chief imam, Umer Ahmed Ilyasi.
A total of 14 Islamic leaders from Bosnia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Nigeria, the United States and Turkey were in Poland as part of an anti-genocide program organized by the US State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom. The mission includes touring Holocaust sites and meeting with survivors as well as those who helped saved them.
The AFP report did not detail which four members of the group had not signed the statement, which declared they “stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish brothers and sisters in condemning anti-Semitism in any form.”
On May 22 the group visited and offered prayers at the site of the Auschwitz extermination camp where over a million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
“With the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred, rhetoric and bigotry, now more than ever, people of faith must stand together for truth, peace and justice,” the statement continued. “Together, we pledge to make real the commitment of ‘never again’ and to stand united against injustice wherever it may be found in the world today.”
In May, a US government report found there was a global increase in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial during 2012. In light of the report the State Department appointed Ira Forman, former CEO of the National Jewish Democratic Council, as a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism around the world.