Ms Fiona MacTaggart MP,
Parliamentary Under Secretary
50 Queen Anne's Gate
14 October 2003
I am writing to you to express the deep appreciation in the British Muslim community about your recent remarks at the CAABU fringe meeting during the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth drawing attention to the dreadful subjugation of the Palestinian people and how the lessons learned from the Holocaust must never be forgotten. It is heartening to see a Minister of Her Majesty’s Government prepared to speak out on this vital issue. You can be sure that your sentiments are shared by all who wish to see a genuine peace prevail in the Holy Land.
We understand that you are shortly due to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau site. None of us must ever forget how that particular genocide began. We must remember it began with a hatred that dehumanised an entire people and fostered state brutality, made second-class citizens of honest, innocent people because of their religion and ethnic identity. Those who were vilified and seen as a threat were subjected to group punishment, dispossession and impoverishment while the rest of the world stood idly by, washing its hands of despair and suffering that kept getting worse. We must do more than remember and reflect on the past - we must also be able to see when similar abuses occur in our own time.
A fitting living memorial for the victims of the Nazi Holocaust is ensuring we make the cry 'Never Again' real for all people who suffer, everywhere. We honour the dead most sincerely by working to end suffering and bring peace with justice to those who live without hope today. But sadly, 'Ethnic cleansing' is not a thing of the past; it is a present terror. Remembrance must, therefore, refocus our moral vision and rededicate our commitment to prevent current and future inhumanity, state brutality and crimes against humanity.
We at the Muslim Council of Britain have always believed that Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian lands must be ended if peace is to have a chance to flower in the Holy Land. We assure you of our continued support in this matter.
Iqbal AKM Sacranie OBE,
The Muslim Council of Britain