Muslim leaders from across the globe paid tribute Holocaust victims this week during a visit to Auschwitz, the former Nazi concentration camp, where they prayed at the Wall of Death for those who were killed by genocide and suffered under violent anti-Semitism.
The imams, who hailed from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bosnia, Palestine, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey and the United States, performed Islamic prayers while facing Mecca as part of a Holocaust awareness visit organized in part by the International Religious Freedom office of the U.S. State Department.
“What can you say? You’re speechless. What you have seen is beyond human imagination,” Imam Mohamed Magid, President of the U.S.-based Islamic Society of North America, told Agence France-Presse.
“Whether in Europe today or in the Muslim world, my call to humanity: End racism for God’s sake, end anti-Semitism for God’s sake, end Islamophobia for God’s sake, end sexism for God’s sake… Enough is enough,” said Magid, who leads the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Northern Virginia.
Ahmet Muharrem Atlig, a Turkish Muslim and former imam, said that despite being educated in “much informaiton about Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Holocaust,” the visit was a “turning point” for him.
“The U.S. imams told us that their trip was transformative and they shared their experiences with their American Muslim communities. We thought a trip with an international group of imams and religious leaders to be of vital importance,” said Catholic University of America law professor Marshall Breger, an Orthodox Jew and former Reagan White House liaison to the Jewish community who helped organized both trips.
“Increasing compassion and preserving man’s humanity starts with unveiling falsehoods that shore up bigotry. Unfortunately, one of those is Holocaust denial. Muslims and millions of others also suffered and Holocaust denial denies them, too, not just Jews who perished,” Breger said.