Senior Islamic leader to visit Auschwitz under agreement with American Jewish Committee


(JTA) — A senior Islamic leader will visit Auschwitz as part of a memorandum of understanding signed between the Muslim World League and the American Jewish Committee.

Dr. Mohammad Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary general of the Muslim World League, will join American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris at the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in January.

Al-Issa and Harris signed the memorandum of understanding on Tuesday. 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,” AJC said in a statement.

Al-Issa also has accepted an invitation from Harris to address the AJC Global Forum in Berlin in June 2020. Harris, in turn, will lead an AJC delegation to Saudi Arabia.

“I believe that by paying my respects to the victims of Auschwitz, I will encourage Muslims and non-Muslims to embrace mutual respect, understanding and diversity,” Al-Issa, a widely recognized thought leader on moderate Islam, said in the statement. “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,” he also said.

In 2017, Al-Issa visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and declared Holocaust denial a crime against Islam.

The Muslim World League is based in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca.

The agreement is an initiative of the Centre for Responsible Leadership and its founder and president, Bawa Jain.

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