Israeli Religious Leaders Condemn Extremism at Auschwitz


(AFP) Warsaw – Thirty top religious leaders from Israel’s Christian, Druze, Jewish and Muslim communities on Wednesday condemned extremism and “hatred of the other” during a landmark visit to Auschwitz.

The members of the Council of Religious Community Leaders in Israel repudiated “racism, fanaticism and extremism, particularly when these are committed, allegedly in the name of religion” in a statement issued following their visit to the grounds of Nazi Germany’s most infamous death camp.

They also called on world leaders to “act with unwavering resoluteness against anti-Semitism, (and) hatred of the other, which once again plague contemporary society.”

Jerusalem’s Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, Anglican Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Druze religious leader Sheikh Mowafaq as well as Rabbis Dimony Icchak Elefant and David Rosen participated in the visit.

The delegation, also including two Sunni imams from Galilee, walked through the camp’s infamous wrought iron “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work makes you free) gate before laying flowers at the death wall, where executions took place.

The religious leaders also viewed exhibitions at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum on the grounds of the former death camp in Oświęcim, southern Poland.

One million European Jews died at the camp set up by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland in 1940-1945.