MCB responds to Kelly
by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-10-16
Holocaust Memorial Day
Following a recent speech in which Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly criticised some Muslim groups who fail to support the Government's crackdown on Islamic extremists as well as refuse to take part in Holocaust Memorial Day, the Muslim Council of Britain has issued a response.
In an open letter to Kelly from Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, general secretary, the MCB reiterated its position on a number of issues and confirming that it will not support Holocaust Memorial Day in its current form as it claims it excludes sections of the Muslim community.
"We cannot accept that some people are more worthy of remembrance than others purely on the basis of their race or religion. For that reason, we have called and continue to call for a more appropriately named Genocide Memorial Day," said Bari. "You say that the HMD event marks our common humanity and respect for each other, but if that is really the case, then why the continued refusal to make it more inclusive by naming it a Genocide Memorial Day?"
Bari emphasised the day should include something to recognise Palestinian issues. "The plain fact is that for some years now, a particular political interest group and certain allied journalists have tried to intimidate the MCB into remaining silent about the ongoing injustice and human rights abuses perpetrated against the Palestinian people."
Despite its difference of opinion, the MCB claims it has been in dialogue with the Holocaust Memorial Trust. "We would assure you that we have met and continue to discuss these issues with the Holocaust Memorial Trust in order to find a way to bridge the differences between us."
In a statement on its website, the HMD Trust emphasised what the day is about and says that despite the name, it is an inclusive event that recognises not just Jewish suffering but other groups as well.
"Holocaust Memorial Day provides an opportunity to commemorate all those who were victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution, as well as the victims of racism and discrimination in other genocides, and to show that the events of the Holocaust remain relevant to everyone in the UK today," it says.