On August 7 – 11, eight of the most influential Imams and Muslim leaders in the U.S. made an historic trip to concentration camps in Germany and Poland. The trip was led by Rabbi Jack Bemporad of the Center for Interreligious Understanding (NJ), co-sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Germany). The Holocaust is a stark reminder for everyone of the dangers of prejudice and religious intolerance. As a result of their profound experience at the Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps, with a united voice these prominent Muslim leaders issue the following unprecedented statement:
Statement of Muslim American Imams & Community Leaders on Holocaust Denial
“O you who believe, stand up firmly for justice as witnesses to Almighty God.” (Qu’ran, 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 (Qu’ran, 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, CA and chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America
- Imam Muhamad Maged, All-Dulles-Area Muslim Society, Dulles, Virginia and Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America
- Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director of the Islamic Society of North America’s Office of Interfaith & Community Services, Washington, D.C.
- Imam Suhaib Webb, Muslim Community Association, Santa Clara, CA
- Ms. Laila Muhammad, daughter of the late Imam W.D. Muhammad of Chicago, IL
- Shaikh Yasir Qadhi, Dean of Academics for the Al Maghrib Institute, New Haven, CT
- Imam Syed Naqvi, Director of the Islamic Information Center in Washington, DC
- Imam Abdullah T. Antepli, Muslim Chaplain, Duke University
For more information about the trip, you can read this article.
Media contact: Susan Barnett | firstname.lastname@example.org | 212.989.2956
The Holocaust no doubt was a massive tragedy and failure of humanity to coexist.
You write “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.” – is this not what is happening in Palestine. Is Palestine not another Holocaust which the world is doing nothing about?
I don’t really get what the point was..
The holocaust was not about religion, it was about the dominance of the “aryan race” and anyone who did not fit the profile was targeted. just as many non-jews died as jews.
more importantly, since u can’t go back in time, there is no way to bring justice to holocaust victims who perished 60 years ago.
wouldn’t a more worthy cause be to bring justice to the human souls suffering now? BEFORE they perish..
wouldn’t they have been better off paying a visit to Guantanamo bay or the Gaza strip where justice can be served NOW, where people can be saved NOW
Interfaith dialog is great but shouldn’t its focus be current or at least relevant issues faced by the followers of those faiths today
Assallamu ‘alum WA armadillo WA barakatuh…
Is it me or was there no news exposure (major or minor) regarding this item. I admit that I only listen to the news in the morning (WCBS Radio in NYC) and I don’t remember hearing anything regarding this at all.
Sad that the only thing that’s in the news is the Islamic Cultural Center here in the City while an effort to bridge differences like this goes unnoticed.
As Salamu Alaikum,
It is a shame that many individuals continually deny the holocaust thinking that it in some way benefits Islam and Muslims. Al hamduli Allah–I am glad to see that such well-known religious leaders acknowledge the great crime that was the holocaust.
I just hope that the rest of the world and Palestinians in particular aren’t held to ransom by it.
Thank you both for your important comments. Sadly, what would make you assume that this group did not visit Palestine in the past, or plan to visit there in the future? It is always better to assume the best about people and more so when it comes to Imams and the leaders of our community (I take myself out of that group as I’m just a student). al-Humdulillah, a little over a year ago a group of rabbis and evangelical leaders went with the same group to Gaza and other parts of the occupied territories. The visit had tremendous impact in educating them about the realities of life there and some even started aide programs, sent every six months, to Gaza. There are also plans in the future to take a delegation of Muslim and Jewish youth to the Holocaust sites as well as the death camps in Bosnia.
I think no thing will change when Muslim and Jewish youth go to the Holocaust or to the death camps in Bosnia . The case is so clear. for me , I watch and read about horrible deeds in Palestine every day . when I search for the reasons , I find the only ” justification ” is that Israelis do these horrible deeds to protect them selves!!. Israel wants to destroy Al-Qasa Mosque to take Jerusalem as a legal capital!!.
It is not about religion , race or color , it is about politics and colonization .
The change can be achieved if governments change their policies.
that was an interesting read.i didnt know that as many as 50% of those victims were non jews.it made me reflect on how through my 30 plus years of life,it’s usually been received/presented as a jewish suffering rather than many other races/groups.i was wondering if in the museums/camps etc it was portrayed the same?
Suhaib – I agree with your last comment as it is important to look at history and take important lessons from it to prevent such incidents happening in the future. However, one should not forget that today the world is a different place from yesterday. The media have a total control over public opinion and the rich elite have control over the media. It is also no secret that Israel uses the media to drive forward its agenda in Palestine.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the Qur’an clearly tells us how our relationship should be non-Muslims “5:51 O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends: They are but friends to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.”
You have used the above verse in the wrong context. Please be more careful in the future as such mistakes with the Words of Allah are not so simple. Kindly refer to any major book of tafsir for the correct context. Secondly, you reflect the sickness that exists in the chests of some, hatred and ill respect for their leaders. We had a number of very strong scholars with us on that trip- if there was something wrong or evil, they would not have encouraged nor gone.
I would like to ask for clarification on this statement: “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.” What, or who, was this statement referring to? Has there been any type of “Holocaust Denial” prevalent within our community?
I write it again and I know you will not publish it again, what did the same Imams do regarding usa’s blind aid to israel???? why suck up and travel all the way to poland yet cannot do a thing in their own country?
May Allah reward all of those who took the time to actually go and experience this and I pray that it will be brought back to our communities and lessons will be derived and shown to us.
Sometimes we get so caught up in cultural baggage that we forget the true meaning of justice. Years ago a huge dhulm was place upon these people and their memories should be respected, their dignity honored, and their deaths should be saddening to any kind hearted person. Growing up around people who did deny the holocaust and hate that it is being taught in our schools here in America, I believe that it is high time that such a statement was made.
We have to realize that there is not a relationship between those who died in the Holocaust and those who are killing in the Palestinian tragedy today. Yet we get so defensive, as if our denying of the holocaust will bring justice to the situation we are in today. We have to start realizing that Justice is Religion blind. If we don’t start accepting and learning from the past then the past will simply be reborn and relived. If we feel badly about what is going on in our Ummah today, then we should make du`aa and find a way to have this stopped…denying the tragedy of others will simply further our own tragedy.
Barak Allahu Feekum Shiukh!
As Salamu Alaikum,
I agree with the last comment. I just think people are frustrated because the holocaust is frequently used as a justification for what is going on in Palestine.
Brother Suhaib, I love you for the sake of Allah, and while I love his site (I check it every day :)), I think it may be just to have a post on what goes on in Palestine, what our outlook towards it as Muslims should be-I don’t recall seeing any posts on the topic lately.
That said, I’d just like to use this opportunity to say jazakum Allahu khairan for Summer Nights. May Allah reward the efforts of those involved and keep you all safe.
Inshallah, may this be a great opportunity and learning event for all of you. I think we all grow as an ummah when our scholars gain in their perspective and experiences.
We also have to learn to keep events and issues separate. The holocaust was an event that hasn’t been matched in its magnitude, and just because an injustice is committed on our brothers/sisters, doesn’t change the original nature of the holocaust. That is, let’s keep the two injustices separate. As the other video made an important point of, injustice cannot defeat or used to justify another injustice and it goes both ways.
Could anyone please forward me Imam Suhaib Webb’s contact details please? Either his mobile number or e-mail address would great.
It is important to realize that taking part in such activities has the potential, as reflected in these responses, to divide Muslims.
It is also important to remember that leadership is derived by the people, so to tell them they should not question their leaders is not right. The moment that the community decides that any of the imams above have crossed the line, they may question such actions and may even leave their mosques and platforms. Who will they preach to then? What power will they have?
We also need the attention to be on the issue of Palestine and to pay attention to the way the issue of the Holocaust is politically played, sometimes through the guise of interfaith.
All I am urging is caution and as much consensus and critique as we can respectfully engage in, to keep our community united.