THE FRIDAY MESSAGE - Issue No: 374 - Srebrencia Memorial Day

THE FRIDAY MESSAGE - Issue No: 374 - Srebrencia Memorial Day

Salamun alaykum,

Statement of Commemoration for Srebrenica Memorial Day 2021

In UK, the week from 4th to 11th July is dedicated as Srebrenica Memorial Week to remember the victims of the genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Srebrenica Memorial Day is observed on 11th July. 

Srebrenica genocide: What happened? 

On 11th July, 1995 Bosnian Serb forces, led by General Ratko Mladić overran and captured the town of Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia which had been declared a UN Safe Area. In the days following, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered and buried in mass graves. The Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered simply because of their Muslim identity. Thousands of women, children and the elderly were forcibly deported. Srebrenica was a culmination of a campaign of 'ethnic cleansing' used by Bosnian Serb forces.

Described by the United Nations as: 'the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War' the genocide at Srebrenica was officially recognised by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at the Hague.

Condemnation by Islam:  

Islam is against all forms of racism, prejudice, and bigotry. Based on both revelation and reason the belief that one ethnicity is superior to another, or one colour of skin is superior to another, or the people of one country are superior to another is unacceptable in Islam. 

Allah SWT created different skin colours and languages as a sign of His creative power. Just as flowers come in many different colours, all as different Divine signs in Allah’s creation, so do human beings come in different colours.

“Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colours. Verily, in that are signs for people of knowledge.” Surat al-Rum 30:22

Further ethnic diversity is part of the Divine plan, a means of enrichment. Allah SWT created different races and tribes so that people would recognize each other and learn from each other, not so that the races would fight each other. 

“O people, We have created you male and female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most noble of you to Allah is the most righteous of you. Verily, Allah is knowing and aware.” Surat al-Hujurat 49:13

What do we learn? 

This year’s Srebrenica Memorial Day Theme is “Rebuilding Lives”. In albeit very different ways the COVID-19 pandemic has brought loss and difficulties to millions, shattering individuals and communities, who are now looking to rebuild their lives. And as we move forwards to rebuilding our communities in the wake of the many health and economic challenges which people with divisive agendas are all too keen to exploit, we will remember the spirit of genocide survivors who, despite the horrendous hatred and destruction they were subjugated to themselves, have been rebuilding their lives with dignity, humanity and without calling for retribution or promoting division or hatred. Isn’t this all the more remarkable and inspiring given what they went through? 

We learn from Srebrenica, that hatred and intolerance can flourish if left unchallenged. We, therefore, reaffirm our commitment to working towards the elimination of discrimination, rejecting hatred and intolerance and helping to build a more safer, stronger and cohesive society here in the UK. 

We believe that we must ensure that we never forget about the genocide and reaffirm our commitment to standing up against hatred and prejudice. 

This year, on the 26th anniversary of Srebrenica Memorial Day, let us honour the victims and survivors of the genocide with the recital of Sura al Fatiha.  

View 'Remembering Srebrenica: Voices from Northern Ireland', a short new film on this year's theme of 'Rebuilding Lives' for Srebrenica Memorial Week 2021.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNTRQKSeKQU

The Srebrenica Prayer

We pray to Almighty God,

May grievance become hope.

May Revenge become justice.

May mother’s tears become prayers.

That Srebrenica never happens again.

To no one, nowhere.

Wa ma tawfiqi illa billah.

Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo
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Resident Alim
Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat