Last week, the Forward reported on a recent trip by eight prominent American Muslim religious and community leaders to Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Poland (“At the Death Camps, Muslim Leaders Grapple With Jews’ Pain,” August 20). The trip was led by Rabbi Jack Bemporad of the Center for Interreligious Understanding and Marshall Breger of the Catholic University of America and was co-sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Following their trip, these American Muslim leaders issued the following statement:
‘O you who believe, stand up firmly for justice as witnesses to Almighty God.” (Holy Qu’ran, al-Nisa “The Women” 4:135)
On August 7-11, 2010, we the undersigned Muslim American faith and community leaders visited Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps where we witnessed firsthand the historical injustice of the Holocaust.
We met survivors who, several decades later, vividly and bravely shared their horrific experience of discrimination, suffering, and loss. We saw the many chilling places where men, women and children were systematically and brutally murdered by the millions because of their faith, race, disability and political affiliation.
In Islam, the destruction of one innocent life is like the destruction of the whole of humanity and the saving of one life is like the saving of the whole of humanity (Holy Qu’ran, al-Ma’idah “the Tablespread” 5:32). While entire communities perished by the many millions, we know that righteous Muslims from Bosnia, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Albania saved many Jews from brutal repression, torture and senseless destruction.
We bear witness to the absolute horror and tragedy of the Holocaust where over twelve million human souls perished, including six million Jews.
We condemn any attempts to deny this historical reality and declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics.
We condemn anti-Semitism in any form. No creation of Almighty God should face discrimination based on his or her faith or religious conviction.
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. 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.
Together, we pledge to make real the commitment of “never again” and to stand united against injustice wherever it may be found in the world today.
Imam Muzammil Siddiqi
Islamic Society of Orange County, Calif.
Chairman, Fiqh Council of North America
Imam Muhamad Maged
All-Dulles-Area Muslim Society
Vice President, Islamic Society of North America
Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed
Office of Interfaith & Community Services
Islamic Society of North America
Imam Suhaib Webb
Muslim Community Association
Santa Clara, Calif.
Ms. Laila Muhammad
Daughter of the late Imam W.D. Muhammad
Shaikh Yasir Qadhi
Dean of Academics
Al Maghrib Institute
New Haven, Conn.
Imam Syed Naqvi
Islamic Information Center
Imam Abdullah T. Antepli