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Mohammad Al-Issa, Secretary General of the Muslim World League and David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), visit the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland, January 23, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

Islamic leaders make ‘groundbreaking’ visit to Auschwitz

WARSAW, Poland — A high-level delegation of Muslim religious leaders visited Auschwitz on Thursday along with a Jewish group in what organizers called “the most senior Islamic leadership delegation” to visit the site of a Nazi German death camp.

The interfaith visit came four days before the 75th anniversary of the Jan. 27, 1945, liberation of the camp by Soviet forces, and as world leaders gathered in Jerusalem on Thursday to commemorate the Holocaust.

The visit was led by the secretary general of the Muslim World League, Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, and the CEO of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris.

In a statement, the AJC said that Al-Issa, who is based in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, led a delegation of 62 Muslims, including 25 prominent religious leaders, from some 28 countries on several continents. It called the visit “groundbreaking.”

The AJC delegation included members of the organization, among them some children of Holocaust survivors.

“To be here, among the children of Holocaust survivors and members of the Jewish and Islamic communities, is both a sacred duty and a profound honor,” Al-Issa said. “The unconscionable crimes to which we bear witness today are truly crimes against humanity. That is to say, a violation of us all, an affront to all of God’s children.”

On Friday, the members of the group will visit the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and will attend Muslim and Jewish religious services there.

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