Over 1,000 Muslim leaders around the world adopt anti-Semitism definition via council

Rabbi Rafael Schaffer stands outside the Holocaust memorial during the National Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations in Bucharest on Oct. 9, 2020. (AP)

Over 1,000 Muslim leaders around the world adopted a comprehensive definition of anti-Semitism on Friday, in a move meant to strengthen “bridges of peace between Islam and all religions.”

The international Global Imams Council, comprised of over 1,000 imams across different denominations, adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s definition of anti-Semitism, according to a statement.

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“Today, we add our council’s name alongside 34 countries that have adopted this working definition. We live in a time of rising Antisemitism and terrorist attacks, which makes our responsibility as faith leaders greater, and even greater as Imams,” said the organization’s president Iraqi Imam Mohammad Baqir al-Budairi.

The council’s vote on the definition passed with an overwhelming majority, according to al-Budairi.

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish couple visits the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, ahead of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 26, 2014. (AP)

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish couple visits the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, ahead of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 26, 2014. (AP)

The organization of Islamic religious leaders has also made prominent Jewish Rabbi Elie Abadie a permanent member of its interfaith board.

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The request for the council to adopt the IHRA anti-Semitism definition first came from the US government, specifically the Department of State’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism (SEAS), according to the statement.

SEAS thanked the council for working together to “banish bigotry,” in a statement on Twitter.

Last week, SEAS signed an agreement with Bahrain’s King Hamad Global Center to collaborate on fighting anti-Semitism and promoting Middle East peace.

“Arabs and Jews are both Semitic peoples that are threatened by hatred or intolerance towards Semitic people,” the memorandum of understanding (MoU) stated.

The two entities will collaborate on developing and implement programs to “promote mutual respect, appreciation, and peaceful coexistence between Arab and Jewish peoples and their respective nation-states, and between all faiths in the Middle East,” according to the agreement.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani, and Israeli National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat. (Twitter/@bahdiplomatic)

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, left, with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani, and Israeli National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat. (Twitter/@bahdiplomatic)

All forms of anti-Semitism will be confronted in the partnership, according to the statement, which said that included “anti-Zionism and the delegitimization of the State of Israel.”

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“His Majesty King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa has made it a top priority for Bahrain to lead the Middle East towards a future of tolerance, mutual respect, and cooperation between Muslim and Jews,” the statement said.

The agreement, which included IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, came less than one week after Bahrain signed an agreement to fully normalize ties with Israel, becoming the fourth Arab country to do so after fellow Gulf state, the United Arab Emirates.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi greet as they visit the Holocaust memorial together with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas prior to their historic meeting in Berlin, Germany October 6, 2020. (Reuters)

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi greet as they visit the Holocaust memorial together with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas prior to their historic meeting in Berlin, Germany October 6, 2020. (Reuters)

The foreign ministers of Israel and the UAE visited the Holocaust Memorial in central Berlin during their historic first meeting in Germany earlier this month.

In a message written in the visitors' book at the memorial, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said that the site was “a witness to the fall of a group of human beings who were victims of advocates of extremism and hatred,” and stressed “the importance of strengthening the values of tolerance, coexistence and acceptance around the world without discrimination.”

“Whatever led to the murder of millions of innocent victims will not happen again,” Sheikh Abdullah added.

A woman touches a wall with names of Holocaust victims during a funeral of the remains of Holocaust victims in the Jewish cemetery in Budapest, Hungary April 15, 2016. (Reuters)

A woman touches a wall with names of Holocaust victims during a funeral of the remains of Holocaust victims in the Jewish cemetery in Budapest, Hungary April 15, 2016. (Reuters)

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Last Update: Saturday, 31 October 2020 KSA 12:27 - GMT 09:27
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