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May 6, 2018 11:32 am

Muslim World League Chief Al-Issa Mourns Holocaust as ‘Mark of Shame’ During Visit to Official US Memorial

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Muhammad al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, in Paris, Nov. 2017. Photo: Reuters / Clotaire Achi.

The Secretary General of the Saudi-backed Muslim World League issued another challenge to the Middle East’s Holocaust deniers this week when he paid an unprecedented visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Dr. Muhammad al-Issa spent two hours touring the exhibit on Thursday. An image posted on Twitter by Robert Satloff – the Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who accompanied al-Issa – showed them studying a panel about the Warsaw Ghetto. April marked the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, one of the most celebrated examples of Jewish armed resistance to the Nazis.

Sara Bloomfield – Director of the USHMM – told The Algemeiner that al-Issa had left a message in the museum’s guestbook in which he observed that the Holocaust  “added to human history unforgettable horrifying images and a mark of shame.”

“Those who insist on denying or lessening this crime – after they are aware of its evidence – distort history and misguide others,” the message continued.

“Dr al-Issa’s visit underscores the importance of every individual learning the history of the Holocaust in order to confront hate today and build a better future,” Bloomfield said. She emphasized that as the USHMM intends to introduce Holocaust education to the Middle East and North Africa, “Dr. al Issa‘s affirmation of its importance is a significant step.”

The visit followed al-Issa’s widely-reported statement in January on the occasion of International Holocaust ​Remembrance Day, in which he spoke of the “evil” of Nazism and condemned the “denial of the Holocaust or minimizing of its effect a crime to distort history, and an insult to the dignity of those innocent souls who have perished.”

Al-Issa’s firm rejection of Holocaust denial has raised the hackles of Islamists in the Middle East. In one of several articles published by Palestinian pro-Hamas news outlets this year, al-Issa’s statements on the Holocaust were denounced as “clearly political, and … coordinated with the ‘Slap of the Century’ plot against Jerusalem, Palestine, and the Palestinian people.”

“This is the first time in the history of the Muslim World League that it mentions and condemns the Holocaust, even though it was founded over 50 years ago,” the writer of the article, Isam Shawar, complained.

Founded in 1962, the Mecca-based Muslim World League finances and supports mosques, cultural centers and religious education activities across the world, with several field offices in Europe, Asia and Africa.

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