Holocaust Memorial Ceremony MCB Regrets Exclusion of Palestinian Tragedy

25th January 2002

The Muslim Council of Britain has expressed its unwillingness to attend Sunday’s Holocaust Memorial National Day ceremony. In its present form the ceremony excludes and ignores ongoing genocide and human rights abuses around the world and in the Occupied Territories of Palestine.

“The living memorial for the victims of the Nazi Holocaust is ensuring we make the cry ‘Never Again’ real for all people who suffer, everywhere. We honour the dead most sincerely by working to end suffering and bring peace with justice to those who live without hope today,” said Yousuf Bhailok, MCB Secretary General.

“We are with the British Jewish community in their pain and anguish. None of us must ever forget how the Holocaust began. We must remember it began with hatred that dehumanised an entire people, that fostered state brutality, made second class citizens of honest, innocent people because of their religion and ethnic identity. Those who were vilified and seen as a threat could be subjected to group punishment; dispossession and impoverishment while the rest of the world stood idly by, washing its hands of despair and suffering that kept getting worse. We must do more than remember and reflect on the past we must be able to see when the same abuses occur in our time,” said Mr Bhailok.

“The Nazi Holocaust is singular in its horror. But inhumanity, brutality, hatred and such evils keep on recurring. We only learn from history when we see all victims are equal. Our common humanity and moral vision must be stirred equally by all victims or we diminish ourselves and are diminished as societies and nations. The purpose of remembrance should be to expand our compassion. Ethnic cleansing is not a thing of the past; it is a present terror. Remembrance must refocus our moral vision, rededicate our commitment to prevent current and future inhumanity, state brutality and crimes against humanity. It is our sincere regret that this purpose is not being fulfilled.”

The MCB believes the suffering of one group of people must not blind us to the suffering of others, nor should it be cause or justification for one group to oppress others. The MCB urges the Home Secretary to reconsider Memorial Day; to make it inclusive of the sufferings of all people. “Genocide is the most abhorrent and outrageous crime against humanity and we are not going to prevent it by selectively remembering only some of its victims”, Mr Bhailok stated.

For more information please call 020 8903 9650 or 07904 153 787