26th January 2001

Holocaust Memorial Ceremony- MCB regrets exclusion of Palestinian tragedy

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has expressed its inability to attend tomorrow's Holocaust Memorial National Day Ceremony.

In a letter to the Home Secretary, the Secretary General, Yousuf Bhaliok said that whilst they fully condemn the Nazi Holocaust and sympathise with the families of the Holocaust victims, they have reservations about the actual ceremony.

1. Firstly, it totally excludes and ignores the ongoing genocide and violation of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.
2. It includes the controversial question of alleged Armenian genocide as well as the so-called gay genocide.

In view of the above concerns the MCB believes that it would be inappropriate for them to be present at tomorrow's ceremony. However, the Secretary General said we "reiterate the British Muslim community's unequivocal denunciation and condemnation of the Nazi holocaust against Jewish and other non German communities before and during the Second World War.

" We are one with fellow members of the British Jewish community in their pains and anguish over this savage and shameful event in recent history." However he went on to add:

" There is great concern in the community that our government has done precious little to make clear its moral outrage nor has it exercised its considerable economic and political influence in order to help bring about an end to both the Israel occupation and unceasing brutallisation of the Palestinian people and the deadly violation of their human rights. More recently, hundreds of children and civilians have been killed."

"We fully agree and very much appreciate the need to remember and reflect over past genocide's so as to eliminate from our history such abhorrent crimes against humanity and to build a tolerant and civilised society.

However, such a noble and important objective can only be achieved by being scrupulously fair and objective and taking extreme care that the loftiness of such aims does not get mixed with the politics of the day."

The letter concludes, " I need hardly say that our reservations concern only the ceremony and not the Nazi holocaust per se. The Qur'an (Al-Maidah 5:32) tells us that the murder of one man is as if one had slain all mankind and he who saves a life shall be as if he had given life to all humanity. Genocide is the most abhorrent and outrageous crime against humanity and we should all stand together in opposing it, whenever and wherever it happens."

For further information please contact the MCB:

The Muslim Council of Britain

PO Box 52
Tel: 020 8903 9650
Fax: 020 8903 9026

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