Diplomacy

Leader of Saudi-Based Int’l Muslim Organization to Visit Auschwitz

The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, Dr. Mohammad Abdul Karim Al-Issa, will visit Auschwitz as part of an agreement signed between the Mecca-based organization and the American Jewish Committee.

Al-Issa, a former justice minister who took over the government-funded group in 2016, will join American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris at the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in January.

The memorandum of understanding was signed on Tuesday, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. As part of the agreement, Al-Issa also accepted an invitation from Harris to address the AJC Global Forum in Berlin in June 2020. In return, Harris will lead an AJC delegation to Saudi Arabia.

The AJC said in a statement that the document “codifies the commitment of the two global institutions to further Muslim-Jewish understanding and cooperate against racism and extremism in all its forms.”

In an historic move, Al-Issa was the first leader of the Muslim World League to publicly condemn Holocaust denial in a letter sent to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in January 2018.

Al-Issa expressed “our great sympathy with the victims of the Holocaust, an incident that shook humanity to the core, and created an event whose horrors could not be denied or underrated by any fair-minded or peace-loving person.” The league has previously been known for propagating a radical and extremist version of Islam.

Al-Issa, a widely recognized reformist in the Muslim world, said, “By paying my respects to the victims of Auschwitz, I will encourage Muslims and non-Muslims to embrace mutual respect, understanding and diversity.”

The Muslim leader added that, “The heinous attacks in Pittsburgh​, Pennsylvania, in Christchurch, New Zealand, and most recently in Sri Lanka compel us all to unite and stand up against those who want to divide us.”

In a 2018 interview with The Algemeiner, Al-Issa observed that no Islamic laws prohibit Muslims to respect “the Jewish religion and the right of the Jews to live in dignity.” In May of the same year, he fulfilled his promise to visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

[Photo: IMCTC Arabic / YouTube]