Stop boycotting HMD
by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-10-11
The continuing boycott of the national Holocaust Memorial Day by certain Muslim groups has been attacked by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly during a speech to British Muslims as part of a drive by the government to get the Muslim community to deal with its extremist elements.
Kelly said that if Muslim organisations are to continue to get Government funding, they also need to be more supportive to the Government in dealing with radical members of their community.
Without naming the Muslim Council of Britain, which gets financial support from the Government, Kelly said: "There are also some people who dont feel it right to join in the commemorations of Holocaust Memorial Day even though it has helped raise awareness not just of the Jewish holocaust, but also more contemporary atrocities like the Rwanda genocide. Thats also their right."
She added: "But I cant help wondering why those in leadership positions who say they want to achieve religious tolerance and a cohesive society would choose to boycott an event which marks, above all, our common humanity and respect for each other."
Since the first Holocaust Memorial Day in 2001, the Muslim Council of Britain has refused to lend its support to the event claiming the day does not mark other genocide events in history.
"Ruth Kelly rightly points out that Holocaust Memorial Day is about commemorating common humanity. Since the Days inception in 2001, the Muslim Council of Britain have falsely claimed that it is not inclusive - this is unfounded and untrue," said Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust. "We must be careful however, not to over-emphasise the significance of one organisation, especially as there are many Muslims across the UK who actively support and take part in Holocaust commemorations every year."