Sunday, 23 August 2015

Open Doors of Mosques for all people - Dr. Dubayan

Muslim Charity Dinner Networking
Open Doors of Mosques for all people – Dr. Dubayan

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Dr. Dubayan was encouraging and urging all Muslim leaders and particularly the Imams of Mosques to open doors of Mosques for all people around us. He said, “I have seen actually during my stay here in the UK that there are many people who are not Muslims; they have never had a chance to come closer to know Islam. And I think this is the role of Mosques. They are supposed to open the doors of the Mosques; each mosque to be transparent and being seen by everybody; not to be like some people who are not Muslims; they look at the mosque and they don’t know what are going on inside;  how they are operating;  who are managing them. This is to be really integrated with the society. This is the right vision for the future of all these charities working in the society, either in the UK or in any other country,” said Dr. Ahmad al-Dubayan, the Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre (ICC) at an evening gathering entitled, “Muslim Charities Dinner Networking”, organised by the Islamic Cultural Centre, held at its Library Hall and Conference Hall, on Thursday, the 13th of August 2015.

The meeting was attended by distinguished guests including representatives from the Embassy of Indonesia, Brunei, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and special guests from the Charity Commission, special guests from the Home Office, guests from the Muslim Organisations Mosques and other institutions. The event begun with the recitation from the Holy Qur’an by the Imam of the Regents Park Central London Mosque, Imam Khalifa Ezzat with translation.

Dr. Ahmad al-Dubayan
While welcoming distinguished guests and Excellencies, Dr. Ahmad Al-Dubayan, the Director General of the Islamic Cultural Centre thanked all of them for coming to attend this meeting and also expressed his happiness to be able to organise this lovely evening gathering. In this connection he also said, “I believe Islamic Cultural Centre is really home for everybody and also a centre for everybody.”

Mr. Khaled Banakhar, who is representing the High Commission of Mosques in Saudi Arabia, is luckily in London these days. Dr. Dubayan had taken the advantage to invite him who attended the evening event. While welcoming him, Dr. Dubayan said, “The High Commission of Mosques was established recently few years ago and it really aims to help and support mosques around the world. It is really very active organisation in their own society and their local communities in their right way and following regulations of each society.”

Ramadan and After: The Season
for charities and good deeds
This evening gathering took place after the fasting month of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr. After thanking the distinguished guests, Dr. Dubayan greeted the distinguished guests with happy Eid greetings and congratulated them for Eid-ul-Fitr. He said, “It is little bit late after Eid-ul-Fitr but the warm feeling is still alive. Happy Eid for everybody and May Allah the Almighty accept your fasting, your prayers, your deeds and actually everything. Since we were in Ramadan we were not far from the marvellous feeling of Ramadan; that is the feeling for others, the feeling for the society, feeling for the other people, feeling for those who do not find anything to eat and drink This is actually the spiritual meaning of fasting in Islam: to let you feel actually about the other people. It is really the season for charities; season for good deeds; season for doing good for everybody; whoever he is and doing also everything good to your society, to your community and to even natural environment around you. This is very important.”

Muslim charities
Dr. Dubayan said a few words about Muslim charities. He said, “I hope we have, may be, more than one hundreds of mosques, here and organisations. There are recently, of course, lots of challenges and always in the field of charities there are always challenges; challenges of doing charitable works; challenges of getting support; challenges of getting the right people in the right position. I know this is really a problem for many of the charities around the world.”

Muslim contributions to British society
Dr. Dubayan said, “Muslims or Muslim communities have really contributed and they are still having contributing a lot to the British society; which is really appreciated. I am sure everybody here remembers this with deep appreciation for their role in education; their role in supporting the social life; their role in helping families helping woman. But I do believe that is still not enough. Our charities need more; we need more development; we need really more empowerment in the Muslim charities to be actually main player in the charitable arena to help Muslim society and to help societies at large, all of it as a whole.”

Dr. Dubayan wished to see the time when “we can see the services of the charities expanding to everybody around the area in the big society; in that moment we can say that there are several organisations they are really working for the welfare and for the prosperity of the societies around us.”

The Role of Mosques in Islam
In this connection, Dr. Dubayan described the role of Mosques in Islam. He mentioned, “The role of Mosque in Islam was different throughout the history; sometimes with governments like Muslim world there are ministries who are taking care of many things like education. In the early days of Islam, mosques were almost doing everything; it was a school; it was a place or house of worship; it was a place for people to come with problems; it was a place of court. Now, of course, the Mosque does not perform this role because there are other institutions in the society; there are other organisations, institutions and authorities from the government which is doing all these services. But the role of Mosques is supposed to continue providing really a place of education; a place of safety; a place of peace for everybody in the society and welcoming everybody.”

To learn about the values around in the society
Dr. Dubayan then spoke about the values around us in the society. He said, “Let the mosque to be the big supporter of the values around us in the society. Now the new generation really need to learn more and more about the values around us. Many of the values that we have seen and our education about 30 40 years ago;  now they are not strong in the same way as it was in the curriculum; as it was in the mind of the teachers who really taught us at that time; not in the society around us. Some of these values actually are now little bit weak in the minds of our new generation.”

Muslim charities to be big
supporters of these values
Dr. Dubayan said, “We need Muslim charities most to be a big supporter to support these values: the values of peace, the value of justice; the value of equality; the value of women; actually the value of children; the value of families; all these need to be shown and to be highlighted through your way; through your work. This is really the vision of work for the future of the Mosque in the UK; the vision for the Muslim organisations generally. Those who work either in the relief organisations; or in mosques or in Islamic schools; wherever we are sharing a common ground that is the ground of value with the society; with everybody; the value of regulation; of course the value of citizenship in this country is very very important.”

“The best we can do is: we encourage the new generation to be more integrated; to be positive player in the life of the society around us which is really very very important,” mentioned Dr. Dubayan.

Before concluding his speech, Dr. Dubayan once again  expressed his thanks to everyone for coming; participating and for making this evening very lovely; very nice; very remarkable. He said, “We have to welcome and congratulate the Ambassador from Indonesia. We would like to thank you so much for coming for being with us this time, the representative of our chairman, the Kuwaiti Ambassador; he is with us; he is welcome; and the representative of His Royal Highness Muhammad bin Nawaf the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia and the representative of the High Commissioner of Brunei also with us. Everybody I say thank you very much for coming and thank you for participating.”

“We always remember you and always remember us from your side that is the Islamic Cultural Centre is the centre for all communities; centre for all Muslims. We might have different opinions about something; but let us work together for the common interest and common things that is we have the same opinion together. I should mention the Nation of Islam who may be participated with us may be for the first time. Welcome to the Islamic Cultural Centre,” concluded Dr. Dubayan.

After Dr. Dubayan’s speech, the spokesperson of the Centre said, “I do hope all the Masajid leaders here today do follow the advice of the Director General of the ICC for opening up the Mosque for everybody; like I said every time, Mosque today does not serve only Muslims it also serves the British society and this is why because all of us brothers and sisters are in humanity. Let us open the mosque to everyone and let them know who we are.”

The next speaker was Ms. Paula Sussex who joined Charity Commission as Chief Executive Office in June 2014. Paula has extensive leadership experience particularly in delivering solutions to the public and voluntary sectors. Paula is qualified as Barrister.

Ms. Paula Sussex
Ms. Paula Sussex the Chief Executive Officer of the Charity Commission who came with a team of officers first introduced her team and said, “a number of other colleagues who are scattered around the room ready to take over all your different and difficult questions throughout the evening. I would love to say that they are mostly here what would be fantastic evening and the quality of conversations but I suspect some of them are here for the quality of food I know we will receive in a few minutes time.”

Ms. Paula said, “We are here to celebrate the role of charity in civil society and that in England and Wales. You know we regulate for England and Wales. That does not mean we don’t care about the Scots; we really just focus on England and Wales. I don’t need to say at all most eloquently by your Imam or by Dr. Dr. Dubayan that it is so central to Islam; 50 million pounds was raised just by members of the Muslim Charity Forum during Ramadan which is quite extraordinary. Congratulations.”

“I think I am in this job just over a year and the breath and reach of the Charities in England and Wales 160,000 of them is just extraordinary,” mentioned Ms. Paula.

The Charity Commission CEO also said, “I think you would not miss perhaps the ongoing story about the ways charity raised funds. Fund raising techniques and you have noticed how it raised the temperature suddenly in the media and throughout all communities and I think this reflects the facts that charities are loved and that also we ascribed abruptly higher standard of behaviour to charities.”

Duties of the trustees
Speaking about the duties of the trustees, the Charity Commission CEO Ms. Paula also mentioned, “Trust is fragile; based on faith which is based on love is not always rational thing. So it is incredibly important; incredibly important that we think trustees of these organisations are critically aware of their duties; there are one million trustees on our register.”

“How many of you are trustees of your charities and how many of you have read the revised guidance on your duties essential trustees from the charities commission,” she enquired and asked the audience to raise their hands; and said, “Well done Dr. Dubayan Thank you.” Because Dr. Dubayan raised his hands and said he had read the charity commission’s revised guidance.

On a very serious note, Commission’s CEO Ms. Paula said to the trustees, “You are the stewards and you are legally accountable for those charities. And whilst we are busy team of 300 regulators; we rely on trustees ensuring those charities are doing everything in their power to meet the charitable objectives.”

Ms. Paula also mentioned to work in partnership with the charities. She said, “We also like to work in partnership getting the message out.” She also mentioned, “My team told me that we had several more hits on twitters /YouTube.”

Charity Commission CEO also mentioned, “We had some 46 Radio interviews over the years; 31 on Radio Ramadan 100 Radio interviews on safe giving and we have done five times a day on the Islam Channel.”

Charity Commission CEO concluded her speech on a very cheerful note, “It was a very remarkable Ramadan. I am impressed. A very very belated Eid Mubarak and enjoy the evening.”

One-day course on the Human Resources
and Employment Rules
After the Charity Commission’s CEO’s speech, the ICC spokesperson remarked, “We will take action straightaway. We will be emailing all of you here from the Mosque.  We will do a one-day course delivered by the Charity Commission and also on the Human Resources and Employment Rules I will get that sorted out and I will be inviting all of you so that you can get all right instructions.”

The next speaker was Charles Farr, the Director General of the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT) at Home Office. Charles Farr was appointed as Director General of the newly formed Office of the Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) at the Home Office in June 2007. Charles Farr joined diplomatic service in 1985 and served in the British Embassies in South Africa and Jordan. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2002 Honours List for his service overseas for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and CMG in 2009. Since 2003 he had a number of senior posts across Whitehall concerned Security and Counter Terrorism. As Director General of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism Charles Farr is a senior officer responsible for the UK security and counter terrorism and work on organised crime.

Charles Farr
Mr. Charles Farr, Director General of the Office of the Security and Counter Terrorism at the Home Office, said, “May I take the opportunity really to say three things. Firstly, I listened to Dr. Dubayan my friend what he said at the beginning. I just really want to say how much I recognise, appreciate and agree, of course, what you are saying. Not just about how events like this bring together people from all communities of the country, government non-government, less government than non-government, around a common sets of values but also actually what you are saying to me listening as a non-Muslim around the world this institution organisations and above all mosques in communities in this country.”

“I suspect we should sometimes find ourselves talking about as government officials particularly not as government officials dealing with security. But we may use this occasion informally and as a personal view entirely eco and support what you said about the world that mosques in our experience can play in communities and how profoundly important that is and how much to the extent that is appropriate for us to do so. We would encourage entirely; support the ambitions that you mentioned; I am grateful for that,” said Mr. Charles Farr.

Mr. Charles Farr, the Director General of OSCT, said, “Secondly, if I may, Paula talked about the role of Charity Commission very succinctly a word about what we do. Some of you I heard you say of course our jobs on papers or rather will be entitled counter terrorism and security but our job fundamentally is to protect the communities of this country and part of our job is to protect Muslim communities and if we don’t do that we are not succeeding I am completely clear about this.”

“We are here to protect people in this room and your friends and families up and down the country. And I am afraid it is simply true to say Muslim communities in this country are sad to say uniquely affected, more affected than some other communities at this particular time different in the past and it will be different in the future, by the phenomenon of violence and terrorism,” mentioned Mr. Charles Farr and added, “And I am clear that you are the victims of this trend and it is our jobs to protect you from them. And you may say that we are not doing well. I hope we are; I believe we are but people from our communities are getting are hurt; losing their lives in Syria and Iraq and you know that is not the case. And most certainly so we do.”

Mr. Charles Farr again mentioned about partnership. He said, “Thirdly and finally; this reminds us about this partnership. Paula has spoken about this. Like me, the partnership between the Charity Commission and people who really work with the communities should be and in many cases this partnership between you and us. Because there is certainly should be, in my view, point of interest. There is no difference between your part is; your priority is  to protect people in a particular Muslim and often in my experience we are talking about the same people. You are charities reaching out to vulnerable people and you are providing them with support. Thank you for that and long it may continue.”

Mr. Charles Farr finally mentioned, “Paula has said we will do whatever we can to encourage that. Of course, Paula said, giving campaign but fundamentally this can be wanted to be seen more a partnership based on your concerns and our concerns which are similar and more identical. Thank you for this event as always. This great organisation. You can bring people together even the government can not do that. We welcome it and we look forward to meeting people as much as we can.”

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

World Has Not Learnt Lesson from Holocaust

World has not learnt lesson from Holocaust
The Srebrenica Massacre: First – ever
Genocide in Europe After the World War II

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Religious extremism; ethnic cleansing by the ‘Serbian Butchers.’ World community wonder and ask themselves has the world learnt lesson from holocaust that took place in 1940’s? If the world has learnt anything from that holocaust, is it possible within the same century the revisit of genocide in Europe? First-ever genocide was committed again in Europe in 1995 just after 50 years exactly after the Second World War. It was committed in front of the Dutch soldiers under the banner of the United Nations Protection Forces. It was happened on 11 July 1995. The Srebrenica massacre refers to the July 1995 killing of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnia war. This massacre is the biggest on European soil since the Nazis.

Srebrenica Genocide Day-A black spot
on Human Conscience
I wrote on 24 July 2010, under the title “Srebrenica Genocide Day – A Black Spot on Human Conscience”: “The world simply looked away on 11 July, 1995, when the Bosnian Serb forces and Serb paramilitary unit known as “the Scorpions” executed between 7,000 and 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, even though the UN had declared it a “safe area”. This was the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II which will remain as a black spot in the human conscience for eternity. Those war criminals that commanded and executed the Genocide in Bosnia are still at large. The excuses are simply not credible.

Why the cry “never again” raised by so many in the years after 1945 has increasingly become hollow with the passing decades? Why Holocaust? Why Genocide? Where does evil begin? Why the most wanted remains at large? Why the evil doers are not brought to justice? All these questions were raised by the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Dr. Mustafa Ceric on the 15th anniversary of the genocide of Muslims in Bosnia-Srebrenica. “What happened in Srebrenica requires justice as well as memorialisation,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia Director at Human Rights Watch. “Ratko Mladic’s liberty is an affront to both.”

Of course, I would like to mention that I wrote a book on Bosnia Herzegovina. In 1993, Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL) published a book entitled “Genocide of Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina” by Dr. Mozammel Haque, documenting the events unfolded during 1992-1993. (BOSNIACA: A Bibliography of the University of Michigan Holdings, Supplement II, Ann Arbor, 2001).

Srebrenica Genocide 1995
During the Balkans conflict of 1992-1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica was declared a UN Safe Area in 1993, under the watch of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR). In July 1995, General Ratko Mladic and his Serbian paramilitary units overran and captured the town, despite its designation as an area “free from any armed attack or any other hostile act.”

In the days following Srebrenica’s fall, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys  were systematically massacred and buried in mass graves. Thousands of women, children and elderly people were forcibly deported and a large number of women were raped. It was the greatest atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.

The International Court of Justice (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) ruled that the mass execution of Bosniak men and boys in Srebrenica constituted genocide.

Judge Fouad Riad, who reviewed the indictment, described the “unimaginable savagery” that the victims endured at the hands of Mladic’s forces. He said these were: “truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history.”

Remembering Srebrenica Genocide
2015 is the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. The UK Memorial Week runs from Sunday 5th – 12th July 2015. The Theme this year is ‘Living the Lessons’ – allowing survivors to tell their stories. Reflecting on these massacres, journalist and analyst Nijaz  Hlinjak gave a speech at East London Mosque on 5 July 2015.

On this Remembering Srebrenica, I interviewed Lord Sheikh, Conservative Peer and Lord Ahmed, Independent Peer of the House of Lords of the British Parliament. In this section, besides the interviews, I will bring to the notice of the readers, the BBC Programme on Srebrenica which was telecast on 6th of July 2015. I will Insha Allah, mention the other activities, such as press releases of the Bosnian Community, press release from Lord Ahmed, Press release of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and press release of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).

i) First the interviews:
I have conducted two interviews on this remembering Srebrenica programme, Lord Sheikh and Lord Ahmed.

a) Lord Sheikh’s comment on
the Srebrenica Massacre
I had the opportunity to meet with Lord Sheikh, the Barons of Cornhill at his office on Monday, the 27th of July 2015 and enquired about his comments on the Srebrenica massacre.

Lord Sheikh told me, “The Srebrenica Massacre is a black mark against the entire humanity.8,000 Muslims were killed; they were under the protection of the United Nations who were attended at that time by the Dutch soldiers. Firstly, Dutch soldiers who were there protecting these people observe to go into that place and massacre and also you blame the Serbs. Serbs should have known these people are innocent and are being under the protection of the United Nations that they should not have gone into the area to massacre people.

“I think this should be a lesson for the entire adult world that to kill somebody for no reason except they belong to different religion is totally totally wrong. I think, but we also need to learn a lesson something like this should never be allowed to happen. And this should be commemorating in the sense that we should say that something like that was entirely and totally wrong,” Lord Sheikh observed.

Lord Sheikh also told me that he met the Ambassador of Bosnia at an event which was organised by the Al-Khoe Foundation about a week ago. He also said we totally condemned The Ambassador was really ought to be happened.

Lord Sheikh also said, “There are still bodies being looked for; because what the Serbs did was to kill the people and scatter the bodies. Heinous War crimes. We  really need to perpetrators of such a horrible act. It is not only the Generals who gave the orders but the Serbs as well who perpetrated this awful unnecessary killing of unarmed and who had been lost their lives.”

b) Lord Ahmed’s Comments
on Srebrenica Massacre
Lord Ahmed while commenting on the Srebrenica Genocide told me over phone, “It is with the sad memory of Srebrenica Genocide and the killings of the innocent civilian people which were seen in the cities even the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo. Sarajevo was bombed and shelled when the international community was stood by as a hopeless powerless spectator including the United Nations.”

He said, “The particular sadness of the Srebrenica Massacre was: 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica was slaughtered. The slaughter of those Muslims was committed under the supervision of the Dutch soldiers under the command of the United Nations. And we must not forget to bring all those responsible to justice.”

Lord Ahmed mentioned, “We must remember those responsible for the holocaust 75 years ago are still brought to justice today.” And he demanded, “These people who are responsible for the Srebrenica Genocide must be brought to justice and the United Nations needs to take action.”

ii) The Deadly Warning: Srebrenica revisited
A BBC Programme
Journalist Myriam Francois-Cerrah travelled to Bosnia to mark the 20th anniversary of the worst atrocity in Europe since World War-II. BBC presented this programme titled The Deadly Warning: Srebrenica Revisited, on 6th of July 2015 with thanks to Sense Documentation Centre, Srebrenica. The travel was organised and funded by Dr. Waqar Azmi from the Remembering Srebrenica.

iii) Press Releases
a) Press Release from the Bosnian Community
In a press release today sent out by the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the president of the legislative body Mr. Hasan Čengić has stated: “We have just received a copy of the press release of his lordship, Baron Ahmed Nazir, regarding the Srebrenica Genocide commemoration. To say that we were touched by your sincere devotion to our cause does not sufficiently express our feelings. You have once more reminded the public that our suffering is not forgotten and that we have friends around the world.”

He added saying, “This year we have issued a Declaration condemning the various acts of genocide during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina and we hope that his lordship will support it and help us cancel out the results of the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

b) Press Release from
Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham
Followings are the press release issued by Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham on the 20th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre.
It has been 20 years since the tragedy of the Srebrenica Massacre, where over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb troops and thousands of women and girls were raped and assaulted. It is known as "the worst massacre in Europe since the Second World War".

“As the Bosnian War was coming to an end, 20,000 refugees fled to Srebrenica hoping to escape the Serb forces. They thought they were safe in an area protected by the UN Dutch forces however; the area had been overthrown by paramilitary troops led by Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian Serb commander.

“Lord Ahmed said “the trial of Ratko Mladic which took place in 2011 at the international criminal tribunal was a good start towards justice. Although the trial did not compensate for the families of the victims, it created a path for a better future, and the man responsible for the atrocity was rightly brought to trial. But more people need to be brought to justice for this despicable and heinous crime”.

“Lord Ahmed said “the United Nations must share some blame as the General-Secretary of the UN at the time, Kofi Annan said: "The tragedy of the Srebrenica will forever haunt the history of the United Nations". As they were present during the period, it was their responsibility to help prevent the Massacre.

On Monday July 6th 2015, the Westminster Abbey Service, paid tribute to those who lost their lives 20 years ago in the 1995 Massacre. Around 2,000 people attended the event to pay their respect. There are many Memorial events held in the UK from London Borough of Walthamstow to Bradford.

“Lord Ahmed said “I am deeply concerned with the loss of lives and my sympathies are with those who lost their loved ones. Every year we gather to mark this day and make it our job to see that this kind of atrocity is prevented in the future. Just because this tragedy occurred 20 years ago in Europe does not ensure it will not happen again”.

“The World must never forget what took place in Bosnia and that is why we should remember this day every year,” He said.

c) Press Release from Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)
Remembering Srebrenica Genocide – 20 years on
Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the Umbrella Organisation of the British Muslim communities issued a press release “Remembering Srebrenica Genocide – 20 years on” on 10th July 2015. Followings are the press release:

“On 11th July 2015, we remember. Twenty years ago on this day, more than 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys were brutally massacred in Srebrenica, despite being in an UN-protected safe area.

“When under attack, Muslim Bosnians had fled to the Dutch peacekeeping base in Potocari for protection. The Bosnian Serb forces arrived, led by Serbian war criminal, Radko Mladik, who deliberately separated men and women, and boys as young as 13, and callously murdered all the male Bosnians, dumping their bodies in mass graves. The attack was chilling even more so, as not only were they killed, but their bodies were scattered in an attempt for the victims to never be identified. This was a plan to annihilate a whole racial and religious group.

“Every year on 11 July, the remains of those who have been identified over the past year are buried at the Memorial Centre in Potocari. More than 1,000 victims are yet to be found.

“As the anniversary falls a day after Friday prayers, the Muslim Council of Britain urges Imams across the country to remind their congregations to reflect on the magnitude of the massacre that took place and pray for all the victims, their families and loved ones.

“Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the MCB said, “Hate is a toxic brand. When we allow hate to prevail, in any capacity, it leads only to destruction. We must work together to eradicate animosity wherever it may occur, we must build bridges, get to know one another, and learn to respect differences.

“This genocide has been dubbed as ‘the worst atrocity since World War II’. We will forever remember the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, and our thoughts and prayers remain with those who have lost their fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, and those of whom are yet still to find their loved ones”.

d) Press Release from Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)
Dr. Omar El-Hamdoon President
Of the Muslim Association of Britain
Followings are the statement issued by Dr. Omar El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB):

“This month and year is also the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre: the worst massacre and atrocity in European soil since Second World War. That time, the victims were Muslims and the perpetrators were Christian. 8372 Bosnian men and boys were systemically butchered at the hands of the Serbs. This massacre which the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague labelled as a Genocide and a crime against humanity.

“We know that Christianity is innocent of who murdered the men and boys in cold blood; as much as Islam is innocent of the barbaric attack of 7/7 or indeed the recent Tunisian massacre. In fact, I attended, along with thousands of others a memorial in Westminster abbey – yesterday – to pay respect to those who suffered and continue to suffer because of this horrid genocide.

“However, the killers who orchestrated 7/7 and the Serbian butchers of Srebrenica have one thing in common. They wanted to divide us. They wanted to bulldoze the civil architecture of our societies by spreading hate, anger and suspicion. And till today, there are those who still want to divide us. Some are terrorists, others extremists; and some are politicians and journalists! You don’t have to be a terrorist to propagate a hate message. Hate messages come in all shapes and sizes.

“Dr Waqar Azim OBE says: “They [Army of Republika Srpska] achieved this [ethnic cleansing] through a carefully planned process of de-humanising Bosnian Muslims, so both murderers and collaborators found it easier to hunt and kill their quarry.” De-humanising any section of society can only lead to fear and hatred, which can then lead to massacres and terror.

“The Muslim Association of Britain works hard to promote positive messages in society, which allows us to be more and more tolerant to one another. Because we believe that positivity and tolerance is the only way to counter terrorism,” he said.

Follow: @Omer_Elhamdoon

iv) Remembering The Srebrenica Massacre
Events in 2015
There were hundreds of memorial events held across the United Kingdom during Srebrenica Memorial Week. During the Srebrenica Memorial Week, there was memorial days, school assemblies, lectures and conferences, a UK-wide Srebrenica Memorial Football tournament involving 8,372 young people, inter-faith dialogue, community and social projects happening across the UK.

Remembering Srebrenica was part-funded by the Department for Communities & Local Government and supported by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. In 2015, Remembering Srebrenica is calling on UK communities to:
- REMEMBER the victims and survivors of the Srebrenica genocide;
- LEARN the lessons from Srebrenica, particularly that we must always be vigilant against hatred and intolerance in our communities; and
- PLEDGE to take action now to build better and safer communities for all.
Please support REMEMBERING SREBRENICA this special year. 

v) Srebrenica Week at the East London Mosque

Bosnia’s Grand Mufti opened Srebrenica Week at the East London Mosque, marking the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, on Tuesday, 7th of July 2015. The Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Husein Kavazovic, delivered the keynote speech on Sunday at a reception and Iftar (breaking of fast) event at the London Muslim Centre, held in collaboration with Remembering Srebrenica.

Members of the Bosnian community in Britain along with leaders of different faith and community organisations gathered to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide in which more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically massacred in less than one week at Srebrenica, then a UN protected area (safe haven).

The evening was full of reflections, talks and videos plus a special exhibition by Bosnian photographer Jasmin Agovic, and Qu’ranic recitation by guest Imam Abdul-Aziz Drkic from Bosnia.

Imam Dr Sejad Mekic, an expert on Islamic Law, Ethics and the Balkan cultural history as well as a lecturer in Islamic Studies in London and Cambridge, said: “Without remembering we cannot hope to learn. Srebrenica, like the Holocaust, the Rwanda, Kosova, Kashmir and Burma, is a moral responsibility without compromise.”

Journalist, political and social analyst Niaz Hlivnjak quoting German Jewish academic Walter Benjamin lamented that “not even the dead will be safe from the enemy, if he is victorious”. His friend, economist and poet Jasmin Jusufovic, lost his father, uncle and tens of other members of his family in the Srebrenica genocide. Having survived the genocide he has been searching for the remains of his father for 18 years, and only two years ago he finally got his moment of closure by burying the remains of his father.

Despite his experiences, Jusufovic said: “Still I don’t hate. I do not know how to hate. I was a learning child when I felt on my own being what it meant to be hated, I’ve seen a shouting human faces disfigured with hate.”

The evening closed with the Grand Mufti thanked the organisers and called for optimism and dialogue: “We appreciate the efforts of many like the East London Mosque and The Cordoba Foundation for supporting Bosnia over the years. This period of the year is especially difficult for us because of the vivid memories of the atrocity of 1995. However, we must learn to live with one another; we must be optimistic, have hope in a better future for tomorrow.”

A team of young Muslims who all previously visited Bosnia presented a cheque to the Grand Mufti to help families affected by the conflict in Srebrenica.