Backgrounder: Muslim World League
Posted: May 19, 2009
The Muslim World League (MWL) has increasingly promoted itself as a leader in interfaith dialogue, organizing a major international interfaith conference in 2008 and broadcasting its intentions to hold others in the future. Publicizing its outreach efforts to Jews and Christians, the organization outwardly emphasizes the tolerant aspects of Islam. However, these conferences have been marked by anti-Semitism.
On July 16-18, 2008, MWL hosted a world conference in Madrid, Spain, ostensibly to promote interfaith dialogue and to reaffirm the religious communities' commitment to peace. Abdullah al Turki, the MWL secretary-general, invited Project Aladdin, a web-based project that provides Holocaust education to Muslims. The attempt at sincere partnership with Holocaust educators was offset by the anti-Semitic speakers invited by the MWL to the conference.
For example, William Baker, a known anti-Semite and former chairman of the extreme-right Populist Party, spoke in the session titled, "Dialogue, Peace and Coexistence," as the President of Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP), a group that claims to try to reconcile global conflicts promote peace and understanding between Christians and Muslims. Baker wrote Theft of a Nation, a conspiratorial anti-Semitic book which is advertised on CAMP's Web site.
Although there were a number of Jewish leaders invited to attend the interfaith meeting, Rabbi Yisrael Dovid Weiss of Neturei Karta, whose members have a long record of extremist statements and support for anti-Semites, was the only Jewish speaker invited to address the conference. In response to protests by Jewish groups and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the largest Muslim organization in the U.S., Weiss was replaced as the principal Jewish speaker by Rabbi Arthur Schneier, spiritual leader of Park East Synagogue in Manhattan and founder of the interfaith Appeal of Conscience Foundation.
"The conference, initiated by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and organized by the MWL, was a follow-up to the "First International Islamic Conference on Dialogue" for Muslims in Mecca held a month before. That four day conference, also organized by the MWL with the support of King Abdullah, gave voice to anti-Semitic remarks without censure."
Sheik Yusef Qaradawi, a radical Muslim Brotherhood ideologue who openly calls for violent jihad against Jews, spoke at the conference about which Jews he believed Muslims should engage in dialogue. Qaradawi said he would "never sit with Jews on one platform and will never hold dialogue with those Jews who have committed injustice against us and support Israel" but would have dialogue with those Jews who are against Israel.
The grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Aal al-Sheikh, also spoke at the conference, declaring that it is impossible to have dialogue with the Jews because "they seem to be against us in every way."