Holocaust a Crime against all Humanity, says MWL Chief
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day,
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa explains why Muslims, too, must never forget the Holocaust.
Jeddah/Dubai: For decades after they marched into the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland on Jan. 27, 1945, Soviet soldiers had nightmares about what they found. They liberated more than 7,000 prisoners, most of them ill and dying, but by then the Nazis had already murdered 1.3 million people in that camp alone — and 17 million in total, of whom 6 million were Jews. Yet to this day, there are those who deny that the Holocaust happened. Now, in a powerful intervention on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, one of the world’s leading Muslim thinkers has spoken of how corrosive that denial is. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told Arab News that he denounced those who deny the Holocaust, saying this serves to drive new hate-fuelled ideologies and anti-Semitism.
The MWL “and the Islamic peoples under it denounce all the killing of innocents”, he said. “The followers of the Jewish religion have a distinctive position in Islam with the Christians. We and they are descendants of Abraham and believe in one God…Rational human beings must unite and work together to restrain the advocates of murder and extermination,” he added.
Al-Issa, who is also president of the Makkah-based International Organization of Muslim Scholars, spoke to Arab News following a widely circulated article in the Washington Post, in which he said that denying the Holocaust “has only helped those who continue to perpetuate hateful ideas of racial, ethnic or religious purity, such as the genocidal killers of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.”
He added: “For decades…some have chosen not to see what really happened wherever the Nazis and their henchmen wielded power. Instead, they deny the horrors of a diabolical plan to implement a hateful idea of racial purity that ultimately led to the murder of millions of innocent men, women and children — including 6 million Jews.” He said that Muslims around the world have a responsibility to join the international commitment to ensure ‘never again’.
Last year, Al-Issa wrote an open letter to Sara Bloomfield, director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, saying “true Islam” classifies the crimes of the Holocaust as “among the worst human atrocities ever”.
It led to Al-Issa’s visit last May to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which he describes as “one of the most powerful and moving experiences of my life.” “As adherents to a faith committed to tolerance, coexistence and respect for the dignity of all mankind”, he noted, we must “join hands with people of goodwill of all nations and faiths to prevent genocide wherever it threatens innocent lives” .
“We Muslims share the sentiment expressed by (Holocaust survivor) Elie Wiesel in the words engraved…on the walls of the Holocaust Museum: ‘For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.’ As the Holy Qur’an commands, ‘O you, who believe, be upright for God and be bearers of witness with justice’.”
(extracted from Arab News)