NEW YORK (Oct. 25)
Despite charges of anti-Semitism against the designated recipient of a prestigious religion prize, the Templeton Foundation has gone ahead and presented its 1988 award to Dr. Inamullah Khan, secretary-general of the World Muslim Congress.
Khan, a Pakistani, received the Templeton Prize on Sept. 28 in Melbourne, Australia. The presentation of the award was postponed for five months following accusations of Khan’s anti-Semitism that were made by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Committee.
The award had been announced March 2, but its scheduled presentation in April was postponed, reportedly at Khan’s own request, while the Templeton Foundation investigated the Jewish groups’ accusations.
The ADL expressed outrage this week upon learning that Khan received the award.
Abraham Foxman, the organization’s national director, wrote a cable to Sir John Templeton, the prize founder, saying ADL found it “shocking” that the foundation gave Khan the award “in light of the anti-Jewish bigotry displayed by the World Muslim Congress during Khan’s tenure as secretary-general.”
Last April, the ADL sent Templeton a letter in which it provided documentation that the World Muslim Congress is “an openly anti-Jewish organization” that has endorsed Holocaust revisionism and repeatedly denied Israel’s right to exist.
PRESENTED IN AUSTRALLA
The league said it is “deeply troubled” by the foundation’s decision to present the award in Melbourne, Australia, instead of doing so at an open ceremony in London. The switch, said Foxman, gives “every appearance of your awareness of the possible resulting negative publicity.”
The World Muslim Congress was founded at the end of World War II by Haj Amin el-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem and a known Nazi collaborator.
The congress became one of the non-governmental organizations of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. According to the ADL, the congress mailed 1,000 volumes of anti-Semitic material to members of the British Parliament and the U.S. Congress in 1981 and 1982.
Khan wrote a letter in 1985 to “The Spotlight,” a publication of the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby, in which he expressed “our high appreciation of the noble service” rendered by the publication.
This year’s Templeton Prize was the first given to a non-Christian. Past recipients have included Mother Theresa and Billy Graham.
Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, international affairs director of the AJCommittee, said there are reports that the Templeton Foundation is considering finding an appropriate Jewish candidate for next year’s award.
Tanenbaum said that while selecting a Jewish recipient would be a “constructive development,” it “still does not remove the problem of conferring the award on a Muslim leader who is promoting intolerance, fanaticism and hostility toward Jews.
“I would like to see a Muslim who is committed to coexistence and moderation get the award,” he said.