February 23, 2020

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Saudi leader visits Auschwitz for the first time

http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2020/01/saudi-leader-visits-auschwitz-for-first.html

A senior Saudi religious leader is slated to visit the Auschwitz death camp in Poland on Thursday ahead of the 75th anniversary of its liberation by the Soviet Red Army, reports Times of Israel. This is a positive step towards combating Holocaust denial in the Arab world. But will  Arab governments recognise the antisemitism in their own back yard?

Mohammed al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, speaking on April 25, 2018 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. (Screenshot: American Sephardi Federation)

Mohammed al-Issa (pictured), the secretary-general of the Mecca-based Muslim World League (MWL) and a former Saudi justice minister, is scheduled to arrive at Auschwitz alongside Muslim religious leaders from more than 24 countries and a delegation of American Jewish Committee (AJC) officials.

 AJC CEO David Harris said the trip represented “the most senior delegation of Muslim religious leaders to visit Auschwitz ever.”

 Issa, the Muslim clerics and the AJC officials will tour the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw on Friday as well as visit the Nozyk Synagogue in the Polish capital and a local mosque, Kenneth Bandler, a spokesman for AJC said, adding that the group will share an interfaith Shabbat meal too.

They also plan to meet with Holocaust survivors on Friday at the synagogue, according to an individual familiar with the details of the trip who asked not to be name. Issa’s expected visit to Auschwitz comes after he visited the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, in May 2018 and wrote an opinion article in the Washington Post in January 2019 condemning the Nazis’ “heinous crimes.”

He also declared that “Muslims around the world have a responsibility to learn” about the lessons of the Holocaust. “I urge all Muslims to learn the history of the Holocaust, to visit memorials and museums of this horrific event and to teach its lesson to their children,” Issa, who is considered an ally of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, wrote in the article.

 Read article in full

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