Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa is Secretary General of the Muslim World League (MWL) based in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He was recently recognized for his contribution to combating anti-Semitism as the first recipient of the annual Combat Anti-Semitism Award.
Sheikh Al-Issa has been recognized before for uniting people of all faiths in publicly condemning Holocaust denial and inspiring the next generation to fight hatred and promote peace. At the beginning of the year, Sheikh Al-Issa and other high-ranking Islamic dignitaries from all over the world visited the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where many Jews perished in the Holocaust.
The award was presented to the former Minister of Justice of Saudi Arabia in an online event due to the corona crisis.
No mention has been made of Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa in the Palestinian media. On the contrary, Palestinian publications, including school textbooks, still engage in Holocaust denial and incitement against the Jewish people.
In his online speech, Sheikh Al-Issa sharply condemned the Holocaust deniers in the Muslim world for spreading lies. “Jews and Muslims have lived together for centuries, but unfortunately our paths have diverged in the past few decades,” emphasized Al-Issa, who bears the Arabic name for Jesus, meaning Sheikh Mohammed Al-Jesus. “We absolutely need to build new bridges for dialogue between the two communities. Since becoming the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, I have been committed to fighting hatred and violence. When I was in Auschwitz-Birkenau, I stood next to my Jewish siblings and told them that the Holocaust was the greatest horror in history and promised that this should never happen again.”
The sheikh stressed that as long as there are those who distort history and deny the Holocaust, “we will stand against those liars, no matter where they are. Denial of history serves the extremists who only promote hatred and racism. As Muslims, we have a duty to study history and to stand by the international community as part of our faith.”
The Muslim cleric also took aim at those exploiting the coronavirus crisis to further spread hate:
“The coronavirus is a common enemy that makes no distinction between Muslims and Jews. Extremists are taking advantage of the global pandemic to promote the ideology of hate and separation. We have to join forces to fight the virus if we want to keep hope alive against this threat.”
Indeed, both in the Middle East and in the West, the Jews have been blamed for the coronavirus crisis:
- “Of Course: Arabs Say Israel, US Behind Coronavirus Outbreak”
- “Jews are Being Blamed for the Coronavirus”
There is no logic or reason behind such claims. Hate leads to blind madness. Voices like these from Sheikh Mohammed Al-Issa are therefore crucial, especially amid a sea of hateful voices like those in Tehran, from Hezbollah in Lebanon or from Hamas in the Gaza Strip, all of whom speak and dream primarily of Israel’s destruction. Incidentally, when you speak to Palestinians about the Holocaust and the extermination of Jews, about half of them still insist that this is a Zionist lie.