Watch: Top Saudi Cleric Becomes First Muslim Honored for Fighting Antisemitism

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CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images

TEL AVIV – A prominent Saudi cleric who was the first Muslim to be honored for his contribution toward fighting antisemitism vowed Tuesday to fight “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Jews against the scourge.

General Secretary of the Muslim World League, Sheikh Dr. Mohammed al-Issa, became the first recipient of the prize awarded by the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement.

Speaking from Mecca at a virtual ceremony entitled “How Muslims and Jews Can Combat Anti-Semitism Together,” al-Issa said:

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 interreligious harmony.

He noted while Jews and Muslims have a centuries-long history of living together, “in these last decades we have sadly grown apart.”

“Now, we must rebuild the bridges of dialogue and the bonds of partnership between our communities. Since taking over the Muslim World League, it has been my mission to fight the forces of hatred and violence,” he said.

Earlier this year, Al-Issa, who is a close aide to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, visited Auschwitz-Birkenau in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the death camp’s liberation.

While there, he said he “stood united alongside my Jewish brothers” and added: “Never again. Not for Jews, not for Muslims, not for Christians, not for Hindus, not for Sikhs. Not for any of God’s Children. History’s greatest horror, the Holocaust, must never be repeated.”

At Tuesday’s ceremony he also spoke out against Holocaust denial, saying:

 There are those who still try to falsify history, who claim the Holocaust, the most despicable crime in human history, is fiction.

We stand against these liars, no matter who they are or where they come from. True Islam deems any attempt to deny or underplay the brutal horrors of the Holocaust as the ultimate insult to the dignity of all those who perished.

He also condemned attacks against Jews “as if they were attacks on Muslims.”

“Your community has tragically been the target of several terrorist attacks. In Pittsburgh; in San Diego; in Munsey, New York; in Halle, Germany. I condemned each and every one of these horrible assaults upon humanity – as if they were attacks on Muslims,” he said.

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