August 20, 2009 – New York – AJC mourns the death of Hazrat Maulana Jameel Ahmed Ilyassi, President of the All-India Council of Mosques and Imams.
“Maulana Ilyassi was an outstanding Muslim leader, combining courage and moderation,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC's International Director of Interreligious Affairs. “His commitment to peace and reconciliation led him to accept AJC's invitation to visit Israel in 2007, meet with Israel’s political and religious leadership, and espouse friendship and cooperation between Muslims and Jews.”
AJC presented its prestigious Moral Courage Award to Maulana Jameel Ilyassi at the global advocacy organization’s Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, in 2008.
His visit to Israel came several months after a delegation from the All-India Council of Mosques and Imams, which represents 500,000 Imams in India, came to Israel. More than 40 percent of the world’s Muslim population resides in the Indian subcontinent.
“Despite the vituperative criticism and threats against him in India, Maulana Ilyassi made his ground-breaking visit to Jerusalem,” recalled Rabbi Rosen.
The Council’s delegation on the earlier visit included Ilyassi’s son Maulana Umer. That trip was sponsored by AJC’s Project Interchange.
“Although we have lost a noble partner in the pursuit of peace, we are confident that his son Maulana Umer and his organization as a whole will continue in his footsteps," said Rabbi Rosen.
Priya Tandon, AJC’s representative in India, made a condolence visit and laid a wreath at the grave.