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Imams brief congressman on trip to concentration camps to battle anti-Semitism
September 23rd, 2010
07:13 AM ET

Imams brief congressman on trip to concentration camps to battle anti-Semitism

WASHINGTON (CNN) - An American imam took an eye-opening tour last month of the Dachau and Auschwitz death camps and said that what he saw was unfathomable - and undeniable.

"You see the ashes of people. You see the pictures. You walk the trail; you see the gas chambers," said Imam Muhamad Maged of the All-Dulles-Area Muslim Society in Virginia, vice president of the Islamic Society of North America.

"It is beyond imagination that somebody would do something like that."


Maged was one of a group of imams who went on the trip. And on Wednesday, they described their visit in a public briefing on Capitol Hill led by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota.

Rabbi Jack Bemporad, one of the trip's leaders who has long worked on interfaith projects, and Marshall Breger, a professor of law at the Catholic University of America in Washington who is Jewish, led the weeklong trip. It was co-sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and Bemporad's group, the Center for Interreligious Understanding in New Jersey.

The trip was designed to fight anti-Semitism and the denial of the Holocaust, the Nazi attempt to exterminate world Jewry during World War II. It comes amid tensions in the West over Islam and hostility between Jews and Muslims over the problems in the Middle East.

"It occurred to me that the important thing was for them to go there and simply say, 'this is what the truth is.' Not a political statement, not a propaganda statement, not even necessarily a religious statement. It had to be a statement in a sense that bore witness to what was the truth," Bemporad said at the briefing.

"There is no way you can deny evidence of history when you have seen the actual hair, the shoes," he said referring to exhibits at Auschwitz that display hills of hair and shoes from the tens of thousands of Jews gassed there.

Hannah Rosenthal, the U.S. State Department special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, said she accompanied the imams because of her concern about what she said is the rise of Holocaust denial that has taken root in the Muslim world.

"Holocaust denial doesn't just feed anti-Semitism, it is anti-Semitism, and it is growing," she said.

Rosenthal monitors anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, and she said the trip was so important for fighting those issues and raising awareness in the Muslim community in the United States.

"Sometimes the message is the most important thing. And sometimes it's the messenger," she said: Having Muslim leaders condemn anti-Semitism carried more weight than her own condemnation would.

As the imams, the rabbi and Rosenthal were in Europe, a Florida pastor threatened to burn the Quran, and demonstrators took to the streets in Manhattan to protest the building of an Islamic center so close to ground zero.

For Bemporad, the rhetoric around those two events and subsequent debates
was eerily familiar.

"The same patterns that I studied teaching Jewish history, with respect to anti-Semitism, are now occurring with respect to anti-Muslim," Bemporad said. "It's the same propaganda, it's the same character assassinations, it's the same dehumanization, it's the same de-contextualization. [Jews] have to be the ones, because of our history, have to stand up against what's happening to the Muslim community."

Ellison, who is a Muslim himself, said he traveled to Auschwitz as a college exchange student and said "that had a transformative effect on me," It was one of the main reasons he got involved with the group who took part in the briefing.

The lawmaker said the administration's response to the threats of Quran-burning was the right one.

"What they did was help maintain America's level of liberty and freedom, where nobody has to fear who they are based on whether they have a kufi on or hijab on or a yarmulke, whether you're a Mormon or a Hindu, you can still worship as you please. It's your business, and you don't have to fear."

Maged spoke about the importance in Islam to speak truth.

"One of the most dangerous things in Islam is to have a false testimony,
and when someone denies the Holocaust, they bear false testimony."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Interfaith issues • Islam • Judaism • Leaders • Persecution • Politics • Quran

soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. bob

    "world jewry"???
    is that a real term? sounds like shirley q liquor trying to say 'jewelry'

    September 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • avdrdr

      Yes, Bob, Jewry is a word.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  2. ClassWarfare

    Imam Muhamad Maged I applaud you and those who are like minded. Thoreau asked, "What is the hardest task in the world?" The answer is, "to think." The blind lead others into hatred and their followers do not think. I am glad you took the first steps to see for yourself and think about the truth.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  3. Rehan

    I think the first step to stopping hatred is banning these stupid message boards where completely bigoted and useless people spew their vile beliefs.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • razor

      First of all what's your definition of a bigot? If I stand up against Islam, which I do, am I a bigot?

      September 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
    • JFairweather

      When creating the Consitution there was a strong debate about the right to vote. Some asserted that only educated people should vote because they would base their votes on facts rather than supposition. This opinion was voted down in part because "educated" was synonymous with being a wealthy land owner. Everyone has the right to vote. It is too bad that so many of those votes are swayed by the promulgation of half-truths, innuendo, and fear. Voting is literally a life and death decision. If thousands of innocent people were to die from a military action led by an elected official, the responsibility is shared with those who vote that person into office. This is not a hypothetical situation, but recent history.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
    • guammojo

      I agree, this "discussion" is not benefiting anyone.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:43 am |
    • Frogist

      @Rehan: I think JFairweather might have a point there. Also banning discussion never helps anyone. People need to talk to others to get a fair idea of what others think. And that gives them a chance to dispel misunderstandings that others might have too.

      @razor: No, it doesn't necessarily make you a bigot. I would say you are misguided.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  4. Blackstone

    CNN, take down the comments section on your news articles. Stupid humans are giving me a bad feeling about being human.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • mike

      sad but true. not much educated and civil discourse here...

      September 23, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • Kenny of Salt

      I agree. Either that or rename it the "Desperate cry for attention" section...

      September 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
    • Holy moly

      Hear, hear. Reading all this really does make you worried about man kind and all the crazies out there.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:29 am |
    • guammojo

      I agree, as a Historian, an Educator, and a Human being I am stunned and revolted by what I am reading. Aren't there site specifically for those who enjoy hate speech? Civil discourse is apparently gone forever.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:29 am |
    • Frogist

      @Blackstone: You think this is bad? I've seen so much worse here. It is discouraging. But that's why we need people who care about discourse to speak up against the agitators. I genuinely think it's possible to change minds or at least further some understanding. Even here...

      September 24, 2010 at 9:58 am |
    • Kate

      Guys

      The First Amendment gives us freedom of speech in order to foster discussion and debate of all ideas, even those we find abhorrent.

      It's only by examining our own ideas against those that we do find abhorrent that we can come closer to understanding.

      There is one benefit that people forget however. Restricting "speech" to that which is popular means those whose thoughts are unpopular become hidden, staying within the shadows. You can't spot a racist by the word they use any more with the "n" word out of usage now, for example.

      CNN at least resorts to automated moderation, if totally amateurishly, which is better than you'd find on sites such as Faux Noose.

      Stopping hate speech doesn't stop hate. It just drives it underground where the light of rational beings can't shine upon it to dispel it.

      Just pontificatin'

      September 24, 2010 at 10:18 am |
    • seriously

      this is the only comment I can truly agree with

      September 24, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  5. bramep

    Hatred and racism andf intolerence is not a Muslim thing it is not a white or black thing it is something that is real within all races and genders and religions. To say that the Muslims that took thids journey were not moved by it would be to deny that they have hearts and souls. Some americans are very good as passing judgments on others.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  6. bob

    I've been to Dachau. It was creepy, sad, moving, horrible, and more.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  7. Markie

    If you got every Muslim in the world to see what these Imams have seen do you really think it will make a difference. These people have hated non Muslims, and Jews in particular for centuries. The holocaust is just a blip in the history and hatred of Jews my Muslims.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Dhulfiqar

      Can you justify Zionism?

      September 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
    • Sulu

      So you are the enlightened one who knows that Jews were percecuted during WII by muslims?

      September 23, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
    • Next?

      If it doesn't have an effect on their sensibilities as a human being – then they are ignorant and not worthy enough to be considered human beings.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  8. FugginMorons

    In Matthew 19 Jesus says "do not murder" but really how many people really listen? In the Islamic Hidaths, Mohamed is quoting assaying god forbids suicide. Yet extremists have perverted the religious beliefes in saying well its ok to line item veto your faith as long as its for god. Kinda like pro-lifers who kill abortion doctors.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      imagine if Jesus came today and was taken on a visit by "Born-again Bush" to one of christian USA's weapons of mass destruction building factories.

      Jesus would choke on his soda.

      September 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  9. MIke

    Interesting how they interview the VP of ISNA, a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood – a Jihadi organization and HAMAS supporter. Now that's a credible perspective ...

    September 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Sal

      Do you have any proof that this Imam supports HAMAS or Islamic Brotherhood? Your hatred towards other religion and race has blinded you so much that you cannot see the obvious. This Imam is part of the interfaith group who is working hard to clear the differences among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The day will come when these fine men will succeed and hate-mongers like you will only be hiding in their home behind their computers screens.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      better to support ham as fighting an illegal occupation of its lands than to be a bush maggot illegally invading other peoples lands.

      September 24, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  10. Poppy

    Fight the real evil....The Amish!

    September 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
    • skywizard

      Thank you. I have been saying it for years. What are they hiding behind those beards. And why do they need so many barnsÉ

      September 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • Poppy

      exactly! and its almost being a traitor to the USA to not drive cars!

      September 23, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      to not drive a car in America and waste gasoline! how unpatriotic!

      September 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  11. M&M

    The wrong group of Muslims went on this trip. They should have taken the Imams from the Middle Eastern countries. I don't think the American Muslims are in as much denial as the Muslims in the East. Next trip, take them...and that president from Iran. I would drag him kicking and screaming and let him face reality.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
  12. cassarit

    If I was aoslem I would never allow anyone to take me on a holocaust ride.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  13. FugginMorons

    Well arabs are semites too. And arabs kill more arabs than they do caucasians or jews.

    How about we just stop killing people? Is that too damn much to ask?

    September 23, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
    • Torontolad

      What 's your name ? Laura Ingalls
      Killing is in Human nature. Religion can help suppressing this feeling (you shall not kill) or can encourage it (Islam recommends to kill all non believers aka Non muslims).

      September 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  14. sheisbackisis

    When the Chruch was first coming into existence Constantine more or less said "put it in a book, and stop fighting amongst yourselves because we have the pagans to worry about as well" . They all continued killing eachother long after he died. Religion kills people Only Spirit can truly teach man. But don't listen to me you have all the answers you need. The law is not in a building nor in a book. It's closer than that. Someone always thinks they know more than someone else exspecially when it involves their gods. If we could finally see past ourselves for once in human history we might finally stop being blind and learn harmony like the rest of the planet (non humans seem to have it down why can't we) Besides anything anyone who has taught you about theology, religous ideals or God has also had someone teach them by ...lo and behold ...another human. Seek and you will find but don't look to far because you will only end up hearing what someone else believes. The worse crimes are created by ignorance but knowledge is unimportant to those who can't or won't use it wisely. I commend anyone who chooses to challenge themselves by forgetting what they thought they knew to find out more. I AM THAT I AM and not just because I think. I AM because I wish to be making myself better and hoping that by doing so I will be making others better too. Namaste

    September 23, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • msaprilr

      What the heck are you talking about? Constantine didn't come along until 300 years after the birth of christianity. And he WAS pagan! he never stopped being Pagan. Why would he be "worried about" pagans? I don't think you know what you're talking about.

      September 23, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  15. Iqbal khan

    And what about the native Americans where they have gone ?

    September 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
    • Okla-man

      They're still here, genius. They just don't live in homemade tents anymore. Unlike some other ethnic groups, they live in this century.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • Lakota

      Perhaps now would be a good time to begin a discussion/recognition of the holocaust that happened (and in some ways continues) right here in the US. How can people vilify Germans when we have towns and parks named for Custer and Harney?

      September 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • chaldean

      Hey what about the native people of the Middle East? Where have they gone? What did you guys do to them? The Original inhabitants, aka, the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Phoenicians, Copts? Oh that's right. You guys killed and slaughtered them all and now they make up less than 2% of the population in the middle east, if not less because they remained Christians! WWI the moslems under the ottomon turks wiped out 2/3 of their populations and continue to persecute the original inhabitants of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
    • skywizard

      They were spared by generous Europeans. Instead of killing them all, as was customary for the time, they were spared. And a new era of preservation came to be. They did fail to thrive however.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • Poppy

      They are sitting on the front porch of a crappy government built house on the rosebud reservation drinking firewater all day long.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
    • Reality

      Ahh, the pro-American Indian co-nt-ingent is heard from again. They always forget the Indians sca-lping of their own kind. And the tri-bal wars. And the ma-ss-acre of those wh-ite sk-ins. If said pro-American Indian co-n-tin-gent want to give their land and homes back to these ex-sa-va-ges, then go ahead.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
    • Reality

      Why all the hyphens?

      The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

      More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
    • Kate

      @Reality

      Personally I think it's just because you ... spent ... far too long ... watching ... Shatner ... on Star ... Trek

      Just sayin'

      September 23, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  16. Joe

    I am sick of these people looking for pity when they should be stopping the murder in their own holy book. Always trying to externalize the problem, so it can be anybody BUT them.

    September 23, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • David

      Ya, because less then 1/2 a % of Muslims go on killing sprees, they most all be horrible terrorists. lol

      September 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  17. Saladin

    Anyone who denies the Holocaust is an idiot. I'm a Muslim and I grew up around the world. I've been to Dachau. I've been to Anne Frank's house. I've seen the awful horror of the Holocaust–and I can't imagine what it must have been like for someone to actually go through it.

    We must never forget what happened to the Jews, the Romani, and the other minorities subjected to the Final Solution. I agree, we need to take the message to other nations but we also need to be cognizant of our own views. In an effort to drum up votes, politicians are pouring gasoline on the fires of Islamophobia. Promoting hate for any group must never be an acceptable tactic.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Hear! Hear!

      September 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • SANJOSEMIKE

      Thank you sincerely Saladin. But perhaps you have not read the (now famous) quote by Rafsanjani, who said: "The Muslim world can absorb a nuclear war between Israel, but this will finally solve the Jewish question permanently."

      The irony is that the statement is true. sanjosemike

      September 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • One man one vision

      I concur. Excellent comment.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Bobby

      If this is what you truely beleive,then you have to stop all the jew hating rhetoric by the majority of muslims world wide.
      Islam spews so much hatred towards me(Jew),that I hate back

      September 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • razor

      You know why there is Islapmaphobia going on? Because it's against human nature to follow somethng that evil..if you think its going to get better grab a brain buddy...Islamaphobia is just starting..its about time people stand up for the truth instead of submitting to an absolute pagan satanic religion like Islam

      September 23, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • Tricia, AZ

      Sadly Saladin, there are a lot of idiots, many live in the U.S. They belong to hate organizations, misguided in the belief that to be proud of one's culture, you have to hate others who are not. Hate has nothing to do with pride of culture, who your people are, the accomplishments they've made and what they can bring to the collective table of humanity. Hate is a disease in and of itself, the "dis ease," of maybe using your brain, having the courage to move beyond the stereotypes and think for yourself. I am very glad you had the courage to open your mind and heart, traveling to Dachau. Those who deny genocide of any type, do so because they're afraid their belief system is wrong, and what say might be true.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
    • Quincy

      @Razor

      Sadly, you know nothing about religion or Christianity. What you know is rhetoric. Continuing to pass the misinformation you have amassed is the very reason anti-semitism and xenophobia continue to be such a bad problem.

      Whatever happened to actually following Christ 's preachings by some of those claiming to be devout Christians?

      September 23, 2010 at 11:29 pm |
    • Faiza

      as an american muslim, I applaud you. lets learn to love not to hate each other- love for all hatred for none.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:08 am |
    • Frogist

      @Bobby:
      I think my question to you is where does that hatred stop? You hate someone of a different religion because they hated you. Then someone else on their side hates you for hating them. Then someone on your side hates them for hating you. Where does it stop? We can't wait for the other person to do something. We have to attck the hate in ourselves first with curiousity and compassion. I know that's easy to say. But if we don't we are just a link in the chain of hate.

      @razor: You are a link in the chain of hate.

      September 24, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  18. Nonimus

    Another small step towards civil discourse. Excellent!

    September 23, 2010 at 11:19 am |
    • Saladin

      Agreed!

      September 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  19. Ahmad Hosein

    its terrible how the christians have treated the jews over the centuries. culminating in the horrible horrible extermination of millions of them in the heart of christiandom, Germany! home of the Pope, no less!

    how terrible. and the irony is, that after all the mistreatment of the jews, the christians have adopted the very same usury wholesale into their societies. the very thing they used to scorn and insult the jews about, is now the bedrock of the christian life.

    so one may ask, what was the point of abusing the poor jews for centuries?

    September 23, 2010 at 10:31 am |
    • Nonimus

      Usury?
      Your comment on an article about the Holocaust and inter-religious communication is about *charging interest*? Wow, your priorities/focus/agenda are/is bewildering.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:22 am |
    • Joe

      Quit being a victim.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • chaldean

      The muslims exterminated over 2/3 of the christian population of the Armenians, Assyrian/Chaldeans in WWI living in Turkey, Iraq, Iran. Look at how the muslim populations treat the ORIGINAL christian inhabitants of the lands in the Middle East. They treat them like second class citizens. No respect for other religions or women. The moslem world needs to come out of the dark ages and come into the 21st century, and maybe then, there will be peace and harmony in the world.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • WWWoods

      Your right, too much of history has been about hate. Hate and kill others because they are different in some way. But I need to ask: when are we going to change and let go of the past and stop the hate and stop killing each other?

      September 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
    • evoc

      Dude, the Pope doesn't live in Germany, his holiness resides in Italy...Vatican City.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • sockpuppet

      hey the Holocaust was NOT a "Holy War"...Nazi ideology was fiercely anti-religious, but they didn't publicly attack the Church to avoid upsetting German citizens....many top officials were into a form of aryan paganism. This was a fascist racist group bent on exterminating a biological race of people based on ideology, liberalism, capitalism, unions etc etc. It was never about Christians declaring war on Jews. Please, research a little.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • Christlover

      Since when is Germany the heart of Christendom?

      September 23, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
    • mike

      @evoc: yea but the current pope is of german nationality. lolz

      September 23, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • razor

      Pardon? Christians against Jews? you have it so wrong buddy. Hitler and Germany and the Papacy are not Christian. They are lumped into a "religion" called christianity by morons like you who have no clue what it means to be Christian. Interfaith is Satan's way of mingling religions and confusing people who don't know the true God. Dude its not Allah, Buddah or any other pagan abomination. the only way to the true God is through his son, who was sacrifced on the cross by his onw Jewish people and rose from the dead...as was prophesied so that you my fiiend can have life...don't pretend to know anything about chrisitanity andthen mix it with any of your rehtoric. It is time people wake up to the truth.

      September 23, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
    • OM

      @razor
      How do you know about God's son? You don't even have a book written by him or preserved in its original language. You only have an English translation of texts of questionable authenticity. By comparison, Muslims have Quran (disagree with it if you must) which is traceable to the original beyond reasonable doubt.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • Edwin

      The abuse of the Jews at the hands of the Christians was mostly during the dark ages. Hitler's Germany did not commit genocide because of religion, however, there is evidence that some officials in the Vatican helped SS officers escape prosecution and sending them around the world. For more information, take a look at Aloysius Stepinac. You will find it...enlightening.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • Suboptimal

      You are painting an entire modern population with the brush of nazism and fascism. The millenia-old hatred that continues to breed in modern day religions are the shackles of mankind that seem almost impossible to break. Parents and so called religious leaders (in various countries of all faiths) breed intolerance into children at an early age. It is simple child abuse and hate-programming that has to be eradicated....but never will.

      September 23, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
    • Cocoloco

      Catholics are not Christians if you care to examine the New Testament in the Bible. That's just like saying "all muslims are terrorists". Your comparison is free of veracity. Not all "Christian religions" are truly "Christian", just like not all "Muslims" are "terrorists" (just some!).

      September 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • josh

      You obviously have to be the most uneducated person from a historical standpoint ever. Christians did not kill the Jews from 32-45; It was national socialism - which for your own edification, did not allow Catholics in. So there goes your school yard theory about the Pope. Instead of attacking Christianity in some pathetic attempt to save face for the Muslim community, why don't you re-focus your efforts trying to talk your "brothers" out of bombing and killing innocent Americans. If you truly desire peace, then start there, don't worry about Christians.

      September 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • Raul

      No one can ever solve centuries old religious conflict. It does not matter whether Christians vs Muslim or Muslims vs Jews or Hindus vs Muslims. All of these have its differences which are hard to reconcile. The cult one eventually be crushed by the others giving rise to new cult and again later new cult will be challenged by the surviving ones.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:46 pm |
    • Faiza

      to Ahamd Hosein, every culture did some sort of genocide- regardless of religion, we have seen it all. Hitler was a vicious leader who manipulated politics to his own agenda and in the process viciously slaughtered millions of jews, gypsies etc; but enought with history lesson- even though I am muslim i believe in the holocaust, but I belive that we need to stop making history about hating one another and killing and make history on co existence and harmony- hopefully I will see that day come true.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:06 am |
    • Guest

      I am so glad to seem Imams work toward peace with Christians and Jews, why should you be negative? Christianity has acknowledged its faults with crusades, with slavery and much more. I think you should look in the mirror before accusing and pointing fingers. Regardless of the past, what matters is people trying to move forward. Don't take it back a step.

      September 24, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • Scott

      @Edwin, The abuse of Jews at the hands of Christians continued into this century. Wasn’t it just a few years ago the Pope finally decided to give the Jews a break and declared that they were not Christ killers? And of course we all know how the Christian countries of Europe defended the Jews from the Nazis (NOT).

      September 24, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  20. Richard

    They should go to Arab/Muslim countries, where people actually deny the holocaust, and give the same speech. For some reason, I doubt they care enough about anti-semitism to confront other Muslims. This trip is about self-promotion, not tolerance.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • Frogist

      @Richard: Don't you think this is the first step in doing exactly what you are asking them to do? Take the message to American muslims who are more receptive to the message, expecially coming from an Imam. Then you have a large muslim base who can better influence countries abroad. For what reason do you doubt that they care about anti-semitism? They are promoting an anti-semitic message publicly to other muslims. This is what people have been asking for. Muslims who speak out against the hatred of jews some leaders in the middle east are promoting. They are doing the hard work. And you call it self-promotion? To whom? Certainly not the holocaust deniers whose voices are being heard loudly in the Middle East conflicts. To them, they are the enemy.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • Greg

      hgwd you're so stupid it's unbelievable.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • evoc

      This is good, I like this man. Why haven't imams gone there sooner? At least, they went. Now, as long as they remember...

      September 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • Kendra

      And you can see into their hearts, can you? Were you this hard on the Catholics? Do you suspect modern-day Germans of being Nazis? Why is it that Muslims are always guilty until proven innocent? Wake up, Richard. You're being a xenophobe, and anti-ANYONE sentiment is dangerous.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
    • Marco

      Hey Riichard, there are groups of Muslims that are doing this. It is a small group and will hopefully grow larger.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • livinonhigh

      Now where have I heard of "the Islamic Society of North America! Oh yeah, a report by 19 national security experts that was given to the Obama admin. last week. The report is called "Sharia : The Threat to America". I quote" In 1980, the Muslim Brotherhood created the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) " to be a nucleus for the Islamic movement in North America." From the time of its founding in Plainfield, Indiana, ISNA has been run by the senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood's movement in the US and Canada and has emerged as the largest of the MB fronts in North America." The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928. Its express purpose was two-fold: (1)to implement shariah worldwide, and (2) to re-establish the global Islamic State(caliphate)." All of this is in the report that is 177 pages long and will be out as a softcover book in October. If you want to comment on all of this as an educated person, you should read the report and much more. Son of Hamas is a great book for info, by Masab Yousef. The son of a Hamas founder. I also read "111 Questions about Islam and the West" by Samir Khalil SAMIR. He is an arabic priest born in Egypt living in Beirut. Maybe a little taqiyya is the purpose of this article.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
    • lee

      ReadforGodSake nailed it on the head. I mean, the Europeans have been doing the land grabbing thing too long now.

      September 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • Out Side The Box

      Really? These Iman had to see the furnaces to believe millions of Jews were burned alive? Really? This coming from a man who believes with his whole being a story written by a person he never met about a person he never met told by an angel. Yep,,,,I believe he was moved. More like a free trip to Europe........NOT!!!!

      September 23, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • InsertPictureofMohammadHere

      @ReadforGodSake: Then you'd also classify the original taking of that land from the Israelis as a crime as well, right?

      September 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
    • JJ

      The imam as taken a good step forward....

      Now someone should visit Palestine and recognize it as the next holocaust as good gesture to the muslims

      September 23, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
    • Mojonaamdi

      This maybe teh 1st time a few Imams and Muslims went to visit concentration camps under this particular group or orgainzation, however hundreds of Muslims and Imams, if not thousands have visited these camps in the past. Many of us here in the US make it a point to take our children to the Holocaust mueseum in Wash. DC but we don't advertise it.
      Kudos to Imam Maged and the group. I know the Imam personally and he is always one who practices what he preaches, i.e., speak the truth and stand up for what is right. He is one of the most respected leaders in the Muslim community and has always been active – leading from the front in interfaith activities. Their community (ADAMS, VA) is and should be a model for all Muslim communities in the US. Maybe Richard and those who choose to use harsh language or to put down the Imam, should visit the centerwhere the Imam makes his office and see how it operates and what kind of programs they have. You would learn something.
      As a Muslim, I do not know of any Muslim who really deny the holocaust, however Muslims, especially those in the Arab world do let their emotions get the best ofthem because of the price the Palestinians have paid and continue to pay for the sins of Christian Europe. They are sick of hearing about the Jewish holocaust, when they see the injustices done to the Palestinians daily for over 60years and nary a word about their suffering inteh western media.

      September 23, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • Edwin

      Richard: why do you have the bizarre idea that these American imams speak to all muslims? Are you suggesting that American Pastors go around the world, preaching tolerance? Or that buddhist monks should?

      Or do you only hold Islam to such high standards?

      September 23, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • runswithbeer

      If your post doesn't relate to peace, love and understanding then you are part of the problem.

      September 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
    • OM

      I have yet to come across a Muslim (sadly there are some that derive some satisfaction out of it) that denies. Ahmedinijad on TV doesn't count.
      As much as Holocast is a sad historical fact and a crime against humanity, it doesn't give Jews the right to do whatever they want. Such as trying to establish a Jewish state in an area where Majority was Muslim. When the Muslims resisted they were thrown out. If these Muslims and their off springs are allowed to return to their original lands, in a democratic setting Israel will lose its Jewish status. This is the reality of the conflict and the Muslim dislike for Jews.

      As for Muslims hating Jews, Muslims despite their conflicts with Jews (Quran strongly criticizes Jewish character) have been much nicer than Christians to Jews. When Caliph Omar took Jerussalam from Christians it was after several centuries that Jews were allowed to enter Holy land. When Muslim Spain fell to Christians, Jews were forcefully converted to Christianity except those who fled and found Refuge in "Barbaric Muslim Turkish Caliphate"

      September 23, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
    • Ace

      Now he should take the rabbis to iraq and palestine to see the Holocaust done by jews. soooo

      September 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • studebakerr

      Richard
      You shouldn’t be so quick to judge as you may ‘bear false witness against your neighbor.’
      There are religious and political leaders of the Middle East who deny the Holocaust. There are also Holocaust deniers in the U.S & Europe; some who claim to be Christians. At the time of the most recent Holocaust Germany was a nation of Christian people: Lutheran in the north; Catholic in the south.
      The persecution and mass murder of Jews by Christians that occurred from 300 to 1946 CE has no parallel in the Islamic world. For the most part, I think, Christian & Western cultures fail to acknowledge this very dark side of their legacy.
      On a societal-cultural level, the popular & politically correct notion expressed by doubting Imam Maged & Congressman Ellison ‘care enough about anti-semitism to confront other Muslims’ & declaring their efforts as ‘self-promotion, not tolerance’ reminds me of the story Jesus told in Luke’s gospel about people ‘who were confident of their own righteousness’ of the man who “stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.’”

      September 23, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • Velcro man

      Poppy – you are more right than you know. if the amish agenda moves forward, we will all be forced to live button-free lives

      September 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
    • josh

      agreed! this is nothing but a ploy; a subterfuge. Muslims want to appear tolerant, even though they are beyond compare the most intolerant social organization ever

      September 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • Abudu Mukarram

      You are are a lying little frog. Arab/Muslim countries do not deny the holocaust. That was a lone statement made by the president of Iran. Get your facts right idiot.

      September 23, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
    • AV

      @JJ: Why dont you look up the definition of a holocaust and then readdress the validity of your statement.

      September 24, 2010 at 12:30 am |
    • guammojo

      There are plenty of Americans that deny The Holocaust as well,
      lets clean up our own yard first.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:46 am |
    • Frogist

      @livingonhigh: The compilers of this report you speak of consulted with NO muslim clerics in this report. How can a report on sharia law be considered accurate when no one of muslim faith was ever involved.

      Also I know there have been atrocities on every side of most major religions. But the acts of these imams to bridge the gap of understanding and directly contradict what some people are saying about the Holocaust serves us all. It is a first step towards recognition that villifying a person based on their religion creates moments like the holocaust of which we all must be vigilant. Their visit, and conclusions from that visit, also tell us something about these Imams. That they are willing to take the discourse in another direction. By demonstrating that muslims can show understanding and compassion for jews, they are starting a powerful movement, which hopefully can be followed through by jews and christians alike. It can't hurt the Palestine-Israel conflict, or the strained relations between the US and those in the "muslim world".

      September 24, 2010 at 9:26 am |
    • Scott

      @Livinonhigh, Well you couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be reviewing the evidence and changing their viewpoint.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • Scott

      @chaldean, Aren’t these Imams doing exactly what you are complaining about?

      September 24, 2010 at 11:31 am |
    • Dan

      Richard, of course, we can't trust those Muslims and their stated intentions!!! They must be up to no good! They can't sympathize with the plight of other people, right?

      What a sad comment, but not surprising, considering the state of our nation and truly, the world today.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:41 am |
    • Angie

      MOST muslims in the states DO believe in the Holocaust. In the mideast they may not know or accept it because for them there is a lack of proof. Their history books probably don't have any information on it and they certainly don't have a Holocaust museum.

      September 24, 2010 at 11:41 am |
    • Frank

      Razor:
      The Catholic Church is the one who gave you your Bible which you use to preach hate against it. You don't have to be Catholic but get a clue, please!

      October 3, 2010 at 2:50 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.