US imam to tour Auschwitz

The US envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the US diplomatic envoy to combat anti-Semitism this week will join imams for a visit to Auschwitz, the State Department said Tuesday.

Special Envoy to the OIC Rashad Hussain will make the trip with "newly appointed Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism Ira Forman, Ambassador Mike Kozak, and imams from around the world," a department statement said.

They will visit Poland May 20-22 "to visit Jewish communities, the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and other Holocaust historical sites," the statement added.

The trip is meant as a follow-up to Hussain's visit to Holocaust historical sites with previous Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal and US imams in 2010 to combat Holocaust denial and to address discrimination against religious minorities around the world, the department said.

The United States on Monday denounced what it called a rising tide of both anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiment around the world as it urged all nations to ensure freedom of religion. It mentioned anti-Semitism in Venezuela, Egypt and Iran, as well as in Ukraine and Russia.