On Sunday 11th July 2010 Europe will commemorate the 15th anniversary of the massacre of many thousands of Bosniak Muslims in Srebrenica, Bosnia.
As Muslims across the UK reflect on the fifth anniversary of the London bombings and the steady rise in anti Muslim attacks from an emboldened and growing extremist far right, the Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide ceremony, led by the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Dr Mustafa Ceriæ, reminds us all of the heinous consequences of a violent hatred for the other.
The MCB has circulated
the Friday Khutbah
(Sermon) prepared by the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Dr Mustafa Ceriæ, to commemorate the dead to the over 500 Muslim organizations that make up its affiliate base.
The Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide Day also marks the proper burial of newly recovered bodies from the war in the former Yugoslavia. This year 775 burials will take place allowing the families of the deceased to lay their loves ones to rest so many years after the end of the conflict.
The European Parliament's resolution of January 2009, marking the Srebrenica Genocide, calls upon the states of the former Yugoslavia to fully co-operate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in its investigations and pursuit of wanted war criminals.
Greater co-operation is also urged on the Balkan states to step up and rigorously investigate the 15,200 missing people whose lives remain unaccounted for and whose families hold out hope for news and the return of a missing loved one.
The Muslim Council of Britain urges the Government to put pressure on the Balkan states to honour their commitments, and the requirements of the EU accession process. The EU must continue to insist on the full support by Balkan states of the work of the ICTY to apprehend wanted war criminals and to facilitate reconciliation through the tracing of those still unaccounted for.
The Khutbah and the Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide is a reminder to all Europeans; Muslims, Christians, Jews and others, that Islam has deep European roots. It has an illustrious history of coexistence with Christian and Jewish communities in the Balkans, the Iberian peninsula, and in the present day, across Europe.
The Day of Remembrance is a timely reminder to us all of where festering hate and intolerance can lead. As Muslims in Europe offer prayers for the victims of the atrocities committed in Srebrenica and lay to rest those whose bodies have only just been recovered, let us also work together to ensure that these crimes are never forgotten and never again return to our Continent.
Notes to Editors:
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK's largest Muslim umbrella body with around 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.