Catholic University law school Professor Marshall Breger is the organizer of a May 18-24 trip by prominent Muslim leaders and educators to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camps in Poland.
Working with the trip’s sponsor, the New Jersey-based Center for Interreligious Understanding, Breger invited Imams, Sheikhs, Islamic educators and leaders from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bosnia, Palestine, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey to see and understand firsthand the existence of infamous camps at which millions perished during the 1930s-1940s.
The primary purpose of the trip is to confront Holocaust denial within some quarters of the Islamic community. President Obama's newly appointed Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Ira Foreman, is among the participants. Breger (left) led a similar highly successful trip for American Imams in 2010.
"The U.S. Imams told us that their trip was transformative and they shared their experiences with their American Muslim communities. We thought a trip with an international group of Imams and religious leaders to be of vital importance," said Breger, an Orthodox Jew and former Reagan White House liaison to the Jewish community.
The delegation will tour the Jewish Ghetto and make a daylong visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps. The trip’s organizers note that misuse of the Holocaust is a leading propaganda tool that foments a deadly anti-Semitism and anti-Western sentiment. This in turn distorts Islam and leads many in the West to see in it something inherently evil, which could not be further from the truth.
"Increasing compassion and preserving man's humanity starts with unveiling falsehoods that shore up bigotry. Unfortunately, one of those is Holocaust Denial,” said Breger. “Muslims and millions of others also suffered and Holocaust Denial denies them, too, not just Jews who perished."