U.S. and international Jewish organizations have honored Muslim World League Secretary General Dr. Sheikh Mohammed al-Issa with the first Combat Anti-Semitism Award for his ongoing fight against religious intolerance.
The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement and the American Sephardi Federation presented al-Issa, a Saudi cleric, with the award at a June 9 ceremony held online. The honor recognizes his efforts to unite people of all faiths and inspire the next generation of leaders to promote peace over hatred.
“Whereas Jews and Muslims lived centuries together, in these last decades we have sadly grown apart,” al-Issa said during the ceremony. “Now, we must rebuild the bridges of dialogue and the bonds of partnership between our communities.”
Al-Issa has condemned Holocaust denial and in January led a delegation of Islamic leaders from more than two dozen countries to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland to honor European Jews killed there during World War II, the Associated Press has reported.
As president of the Muslim World League, an international nongovernmental Islamic organization based in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, al-Issa represents the league’s mission of building tolerance and engagement between faiths.
During the June 9 ceremony, U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback said al-Issa’s message of religious tolerance is vital for the future.
“We can overcome these forces of hatred and evil, but only if we work together,” Brownback said. Al-Issa “really has been a leading force and a voice to do that.”
The United States is committed to protecting religious freedom around the world and in a 2019 report applauded al-Issa’s “messages of peace, tolerance, and coexistence aimed at countering extremist trends and rhetoric.”
“We in the Muslim World League are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish brothers and sisters to build understanding, respect, love and inter-religious harmony,” al-Issa said during the online event. “Our faith is committed to tolerance, peaceful co-existence and respect for the dignity of all mankind.”