Conference in Bali protesting Holocaust Denials
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad under fireAn unusual conference to affirm the reality of the Holocaust opened on June 12th in Bali, part of the world's most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia, where former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, a respected Muslim leader, criticized the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for insisting the Nazi killing of 6 million Jews was a hoax.
"Although I'm a good friend of Ahmadinejad, I have to say that he is wrong," said Abdurrahman Wahid. His daughter, Yenny Wahid, who is a prominent supporter of liberal Islam, said it was up to Muslims “to bring religion back to its original intention, to underline the importance of finding shared values.”
The Bali conference brought together moderate Muslim leaders, Hindu spiritual head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Buddhist teachers, a Jesuit priest and even rabbis, rare in a country that does not officially recognize Israel or Judaism as a religion.
C. Holland Taylor, the chief executive officer of the U.S.-based Libforall foundation, the foundation that sponsored the event, said the predominantly Hindu island of Bali was chosen as host because it has itself been a victim of attacks by Islamic terrorists. "This conference is focusing on all forms of violence conducted in the name of religion," he said.
One of the goals of the meeting was to counter a December 2006 conference hosted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that tried to cast doubt on the killing of an estimated 6 million Jews during World War II.
Among the speakers were, Rabbi Daniel Landes, who teaches theology in Jerusalem, and Sol Teichman, a 79 year old Holocaust survivor, who was a teenager living in Czechoslovakia when his city was occupied first by the Hungarian army and then the Germans.
Security was tight at the discreetly organized event in a five-star hotel.
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