“People who don’t remember their history have no future”
On Sunday, 14th June, Muslim leaders from different backgrounds attended a ‘Remembering Srebrencia’ event jointly hosted by Faith Associates & Remembering Srebrencia. On July 11th marks the 20th anniversary of the Srebrecia genocide that took place in Bosnia, this event looked to raise awareness amongst Muslim leaders & communities across the UK.
There were many Muslim leaders who spoke during the event such as; Shaukat Warriach (Imams Online, Editor in Chief), Waqar Azmi (Remembering Srebrencia, founder), Bakhtyar Pirzada (Vice Principal, Jamia Al Karam) & Shaykh Razawi (Majlis-e-Ulama, Europe) to name a few. The event also saw the attendance of Mustafa Mujezinovic, former Prime Minister of Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovinia.
Mustafa Mujezinovic provided a personal interpretation of the four year war in in the region. He said the war increased their faith & even without necessities such as water the community came together.
“We suffered with water, food & were left out in the freezing with no house” he said.
“This however, didn’t decrease our faith but increased – we still went to the Mosque and looked after our neighbours”.
There was many important topics raised during the event, especially regarding the process that led to the genocide & the lessons we can learn to prevent such events from reoccurring.
Dr Waqar Azmi, founder of ‘Remembering Srebrencia’ provided an insight into the treatment of Muslims leading up the genocide & was vocal in his concerns of the same type of treatment occurring today.
“Dehumanization was used to downgrade the importance of Muslims in Bosnia, dehumanization can lead to the changing of perception of the world. There is a similar form of dehumanization of Muslims today, the right wing groups are only talking about Muslims & the media is only talking about Muslims” he said.
“When you dehumanize a group you can do many things, to prevent anti-Muslim hatred we need to commemorate Srebrenica”.
Looking towards the future, there was an emphasis on the role Imams and Islamic institutions have to play in educating the community.
“There is an urgent need that Muslim children and communities need to reflect on Srebrencia. Every Mosque should be reflecting and educating the people on the issue” said Bakhtyar Pirzada.
This feeling was also shared by Shahid Reza, “It is important the Imams and Mosques join hands together and contribute to the peace in society and the world”.
To end, the key question was asked to Mustafa Muhezinovic – ‘how can we prevent these events from happening again’?
He replied, “Stand up and ensure your voice is heard so the genocide in Srebrecia is never forgotten”.
As the 20th anniversary falls during the month of Ramadan, there was a call for Mosques to provide a ‘Srebrencia memorial Iftar’. It was advised an hour before Iftar (breaking of the fast) there be a talk or video educating the congregation on the genocide. This will commit people to tackle all forms of hatred to create a better society.
If your Mosque is interested in hosting a ‘Srebrenica memorial iftar’ the Mosque Iftar team can provide the facilities to ensure this is a success (www.mosqueiftar.com)