Press Releases

Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Applauds the Global Imams Council’s Adoption of IHRA Definition, Urges Other Muslim Community Organizations to Follow

October 30, 2020

30 October 2020 (New York) – The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement today welcomed the Global Imams Council’s (GIC) endorsement of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism. As such, GIC has become the first Imams council in the world to adopt the definition.

The definition by IHRA, an inter-governmental organization including 34 member countries, is an internationally agreed classification of anti-Semitism. Not only is it a clear, succinct statement, but also an effective tool with which to measure and counter anti-Semitism.

The landmark decision comes shortly after the Muslim-majority nations of Kosovo and Albania adopted the IHRA definition. Just last week, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence also endorsed the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

The Global Imams Council (GIC) describes itself as the first and largest nongovernmental body of Muslim faith leaders from all Islamic denominations and schools of thought. The council’s governing board, senior imams committee and advisory committee unanimously voted this week to adopt the IHRA definition, which was followed by an overwhelming majority vote by the general council of imams and the council’s members worldwide. The council’s membership consists of more than 1,000 imams from all Islamic denominations. GIC stated that the IHRA definition will be binding on all current and future members of the Global Imams Council, including all affiliate mosques, centers, institutes and organizations operated by the Imams of the council worldwide.

GIC President Imam al-Budairi said: “The Global Imams Council is determined to strengthen the bridges of peace between Islam and all religions. We respect the beliefs and emotions of all people, and this is what makes us different from the Islamist extremists who have tarnished the image of our religion. Our Council has welcomed the invitation to adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, and I am pleased to announce that our Council has done so through a successful and democratic referendum. We understand the importance of clerical presence in these peace developments, and we thank The Office of The U.S. Department of State’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism for this opportunity to create positive change.”

In its announcement, GIC also applauded the Muslim-majority Albanian Parliament on adopting the IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism and on becoming the first Muslim-majority country to formally adopt the definition, saying “we invite leading organizations of the Muslim world and all other Imams Councils to adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and all examples underneath it.”

Ellie Cohanim, U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism: “The current developments in the Middle East are providing much hope for adherents of all faiths…I welcome the opportunity to work with [GIC] in achieving this landmark step that will pave the way for stronger Muslim-Jewish relations and help defeat anti-Semitism and hate worldwide.”

Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Director: “We warmly congratulate the Global Imams Council for adopting the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism. At a time when anti-Semitism is increasing across the world, the IHRA definition has never been more important. Not only does it spell out exactly what Jew-hatred looks like, but adopting IHRA’s definition makes clear that anti-Semitism has no place among adherents of the Abrahamic faiths. Progress in the fight against anti-Semitism can only be made through bold interfaith partnerships.

In this new era of Muslim-Jewish relations, we hope that GIC’s historic decision to adopt the IHRA definition will also be a catalyst for others to follow suit. Hopefully, it will encourage additional faith organizations and other majority-Muslim states globally to take the same clear, firm and principled stance that anti-Semitism has no place in today’s world. We stand with GIC and our many other Muslim and interfaith partner organizations against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of intolerance.”

The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement is a non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending anti-Semitism in all its forms. Since its launching in February 2019, 285 organizations and 295,000 individuals have joined the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement by signing the campaign’s pledge. The CAM Pledge draws upon the IHRA international definition of anti- Semitism and its list of specific behaviors used to discriminate against the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.