18 August 2010
Eight Muslim American leaders, who visited the sites of former Nazi concentration camps and met with Holocaust survivors earlier this month, have signed a statement condemning Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. The trip, intended to teach the participants about the Holocaust, featured visits to the Dachau and Auschwitz camps.
“We stand united as Muslim American faith and community leaders and recognize that we have a shared responsibility to continue to work together with leaders of all faiths and their communities to fight the dehumanization of all peoples based on their religion, race or ethnicity,” the statement read. “With the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hatred, rhetoric and bigotry, now more than ever, people of faith must stand together for truth.” Marshall Breger, a Jewish former member of the Reagan and Bush administrations, launched the trip to educate those who may not have had the opportunity to learn the history of the Holocaust. Breger said this would help combat Holocaust denial among Muslims.
The leaders on the trip were five imams – Muzammil Siddiqi of California; Muhamad Maged of Virginia; Suhaib Webb of California, Abdullah Antepli of North Carolina, and Syed Naqvi of Washington DC – along with Sayyid Syeed of Washington, Sheikh Yasir Qadhi of Connecticut, and Laila Muhammad of Illinois. US government officials, the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, and an official from the Organization of the Islamic Conference also participated in the trip.
According to the ‘Forward’ weekly newspaper, several of the leaders had a history of anti-Semitic comments. Laila Muhammad is the daughter of American Muslim leader W.D. Muhammad and granddaughter of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the controversial Nation of Islam. The trip was co-sponsored by a German think tank and the New Jersey-based group Interreligious Understanding.
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