Muslim religious leaders condemn holocaust deniers

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Muslim religious leaders and scholars from around the globe issued a joint statement Monday condemning any attempts to deny or justify the Holocaust in which six million European Jews perished under Nazi Germany.

“We bear witness to the absolute horror and tragedy of the Holocaust where millions upon millions of human souls perished, more than half of whom were people of the Jewish faith,” said a statement signed by 10 leading Islamic figures including President of the Islamic Society of North America, Imam Mohamed Magid and India's Chief Imam, Umer Ahmed Ilyasi.

“We acknowledge, as witnesses, that it is unacceptable to deny this historical reality and declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics,” they said, adding they “stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish brothers and sisters in condemning anti-Semitism in any form.”

Imams and Muslim intellectuals from Bosnia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States knelt in solemn prayer for Holocaust dead at Auschwitz on May 22, their foreheads touching the ground before the notorious Wall of Death at the former Nazi German death camp in southern Poland.

They offered the traditional Muslim “salat” prayers facing south towards their holy city of Mecca, shoes removed, as part of an anti-genocide program which also saw them meet Holocaust survivors and their saviors in an emotional encounter at Warsaw’s synagogue a day earlier.

“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, peace and justice,” their Monday statement said.

“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,” it concluded.

Their visit was part of a Holocaust awareness and anti-genocide program organized in part by the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom.

Operated by the Nazis from 1940, Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Red Army on January 27, 1945. It was part of a vast network of concentration camps across Europe, set up as part of Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution” of genocide against Europe’s Jewish population.