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Bolton cancels HMD

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2007-01-26

Holocaust Memorial Day

Holocaust Memorial Day

Bolton Council has scrapped its annual Holocaust Memorial Day event at its town hall on Sunday in favour of organising a National Genocide Day and claims by doing so "does not mean that the holocaust is being ignored".

The north west England council will still mark the day by flying flags at half mask but has decided instead to host its own event in June which it claims will be supporting an interfaith council idea.

The move has been seen by some groups as bowing to local Muslim pressure for a renaming of the day which the Muslim Council of Britain has called for.  

In a statement, the council said: "Following consultations with the town’s Interfaith Council and other faith groups it has been decided to take part in Genocide Memorial Day later this year in June when a bigger, outside event, in which more people can take part, is planned. Victoria Square outside the Town Hall could be the venue."

The president of the nearby Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester attacked Bolton's move. "There may not be many Jews in Bolton but the day is supposed to have an educational message to the whole community," Louis Rapaport told local newspaper the Jewish Telegraph. "I can't help feeling the decision was influenced by Bolton's large Muslim community."

The council claims the change will allow more people to be involved.

"We are hoping that by supporting the interfaith council’s idea to join with Genocide Memorial Day and by holding an outdoors event it will allow many more people to become involved. The change does not mean that the holocaust is being ignored. It will be remembered as part of the Genocide event, which the Interfaith Council feels will be more inclusive,” said a council spokesperson.