The American Jewish Committee (AJC) has awarded its Human Dignity Award to Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, recognizing his significant contributions to fostering understanding and cooperation between the Jewish and Muslim communities. The AJC drew inspiration from Maimonides, a renowned Jewish philosopher, who championed reason, moderation, and opposition to religious extremism.
Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah serves as the president of the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace and holds the position of the top religious jurist in the United Arab Emirates. His counsel and wisdom are highly regarded by both religious and political leaders, and his dedication has played a pivotal role in strengthening the bonds between the Jewish and Muslim worlds.
AJC CEO Ted Deutch expressed admiration for Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah’s transformative influence, stating, “His courage has pushed the ties between the Jewish and Muslim worlds dramatically forward”. Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC director of interreligious and intergroup relations, highlighted bin Bayyah’s remarkable leadership in creating a platform for individuals of various faiths and beliefs to collaborate on shared values and endeavors for the common good.
Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah emphasized the importance of global collaboration among people of reason and conscience, particularly religious leaders, to combat hate speech and extremism. His background includes serving as a judge on Mauritania’s highest court, holding the position of Minister of Justice, and lecturing at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. He has chaired the UAE Religious Law Council since its establishment in 2017 and is recognized for convening hundreds of Muslim scholars to draft the Marrakesh Declaration in 2016, which opposes the persecution of religious minorities in Muslim states.
This recognition by the AJC echoes its commitment to promoting understanding, tolerance, and interfaith dialogue, continuing the legacy of honoring individuals who work tirelessly to combat hatred and foster peace. Notably, in 2006, on its 100th anniversary, the American Jewish Committee awarded the prestigious ‘Moral Courage Award’ to Blitz editor Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury for his courageous efforts in confronting anti-Semitism, opposing Holocaust denial, promoting interfaith harmony, and advocating for peace between Israel and Muslim nations.