|Dr. Mohammed Al Issa|
A Holocaust Awareness Awakening in Saudi Arabia - Robert Satloff
In December, I led a delegation from The Washington Institute on a visit to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, where among the high-ranking officials we met was Dr. Mohammed Al Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League. The MWL has long been cited as the key facilitator of Saudi Arabia's global effort to export a radical, hate-filled, anti-West, anti-Semitic version of Islam. Al Issa, a former Saudi justice minister, was appointed its head in August 2016.
Taking his lead from Muhammad bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince who has vowed to cleanse his country of extremism and return it to "moderate Islam," Al Issa seems to have a mandate to transform the MWL from an organization synonymous with extremism to one that preaches tolerance.
I was skeptical, but in our meeting, Al Issa struck an impressive note, underscoring a commitment to religious outreach and speaking fondly of his recent visit to a Paris synagogue. When I returned home, I wrote Al Issa, invited him to Washington to address my institute and urged him to tour the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum during his visit. He surprised me by welcoming my invitation and agreeing to visit the Museum.
A few days later, with International Holocaust Remembrance Day approaching on Jan. 27, I asked Al Issa whether he would send a letter to the Museum's director, Sara Bloomfield, for the occasion. Again, Al Issa surprised me, labeling the Holocaust "an incident that shook humanity to the core."
The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
(New York Daily News)
- "On the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, celebrating the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp...I confirm...our great sympathy with the victims of the Holocaust, an incident that shook humanity to the core, and created an event whose horrors could not be denied or underrated by any fair-minded or peace-loving person."
- "This human tragedy perpetrated by evil Nazism won't be forgotten by history, or meet the approval of anyone, except criminal Nazis or their genre. True Islam is against these crimes. It classifies them in the highest degree of penal sanctions and among the worst human atrocities ever."
- "One would ask, who in his right mind would accept, sympathize, or even diminish the extent of this brutal crime."
- "We consider any 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....Islam...decrees that anyone who assaults and kills an innocent soul will be held accountable as if he has killed all people."