Top Saudi Muslim Leader Denounces Humiliation of Australian Jewish Boy as ‘Barbaric’ Violation of Islamic Values
The head of a global Islamic organization backed by the government of Saudi Arabia has issued a forthright condemnation of an antisemitic incident reported in Australia last week, in which a Jewish boy was bullied into kissing the shoes of a Muslim boy for a photograph that was subsequently posted on Instagram.
In a statement published in the Muslim holy city of Mecca on Tuesday, Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa — the secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), an international body focused on religious education — denounced the Jewish boy’s ordeal as a violation of Islamic values.
“This shameful behavior is contrary to the doctrine of Islam and they are barbaric acts,” Al-Issa said.
Al-Issa — who has advocated for interfaith dialogue, Holocaust education and religious tolerance in his capacity as the MWL’s head — argued that the Charter of Medina, drawn up on behalf of Islam’s founder, the Prophet Muhammad, “firmly established the respect for human dignity in the principles of the faith.”
Continued Al-Issa: “Examples from the Holy Scriptures abound of the importance of respecting Jews. The Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, stood solemnly at the funeral of a Jew.”
Al-Issa recalled a passage from the Qu’ran, the holy book of Islam, in which Muhammad honored the Jewish origin of one of his wives. “The Prophet one day came to the chamber of his wife Safiyyah, who was the daughter of Jews,” Al-Issa explained. “The Prophet found Safiyyah crying and asked her why she was upset. Safiyyah said she heard an abuse leveled against her. The Prophet responded by saying, ‘You are indeed the daughter of a Prophet, your uncle is a Prophet, and you are married to a Prophet.’ What he meant was that Safiyya was the daughter of Moses and the niece of Aaron, and worthy of the highest respect.”
Al-Issa said that the humiliation of the Jewish boy — in a public park in the Australian city of Melbourne — had been carried out by “a disrespectful individual who wrongs Islam in faith and morals. The true Muslim is one committed to his or her faith and behavior in all conditions.”