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(Israeli Grand Rabbi Meir Lau speaks at the Victims Monument at Auschwitz Birkenau, Poland, February 1, 2011/Michal Lepecki)

Prominent Muslims joined Jews and Christians at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz on Tuesday in a gesture of interfaith solidarity designed to refute deniers of the Holocaust such as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. About 200 dignitaries from across the Islamic world, from Israel, European countries and international organizations such as UNESCO took part in the visit, which included a tour of the site and prayers in Arabic, Yiddish, English and French.

“We must teach our young people in mosques, churches and synagogues about what happened here,” Bosnia’s Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric told Reuters. “This awful place should stand as a reminder to all people that intolerance and lack of understanding between people can result in… such places as Auschwitz.” auschwitz2

(Bosnian Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric stands in prayer amid the barbed wire fences at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, February 1, 2011/Michal Lepecki)

Organizers said Tuesday’s visit was mainly aimed at rejecting the view, most forcefully championed by Ahmadinejad but not uncommon in other parts of the Muslim world, that the Holocaust never really happened.