Ruth Kelly to ad­dress main HMD cer­e­mony

New­cas­tle pre­pares to host na­tional event; Bolton opts out to com­mem­o­rate Geno­cide Day; Mus­lim Coun­cil still to lift boy­cott but other Mus­lim or­gan­i­sa­tions are heav­ily in­volved in HMD ac­tiv­i­ties


COM­MU­NI­TIES SEC­RE­TARY Ruth Kelly will be rep­re­sent­ing the gov­ern­ment at Sun­day’s na­tional Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day cer­e­mony in New­cas­tle.

Around 1,200 peo­ple are ex­pected to at­tend, with other speak­ers in­clud­ing Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, whose book ti­tle, The Dig­nity of Dif­fer­ence, is the day’s theme.

Al­though the Mus­lim Coun­cil of Bri­tain was on Wed­nes­day still un­de­cided about main­tain­ing its boy­cott of HMD, of­fi­cers from a num­ber of Mus­lim or­gan­i­sa­tions will be among the au­di­ence.

New­cas­tle City Coun­cil leader John Ship­ley said: “We have a proud his­tory as a wel­com­ing and in­clu­sive city which takes a strong stand against prej­u­dice.” Labour Party chair and Sal­ford MP Hazel Blears called on Bri­tons to “pause for a mo­ment to con­sider what lit­tle things each of us can do to en­sure that the cir­cum­stances and prej­u­dices that led to the Holo­caust can­not take root in our midst again.”

How­ever, there was con­tro­versy in Bolton, where the coun­cil was ac­cused by Jewish lead­ers of “suc­cumb­ing to Mus­lim pres­sure” af­ter de­cid­ing against an HMD event in favour of a Geno­cide Day later in the year. Manch­ester Jewish Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil pres­i­dent Louis Ra­pa­port com­plained that the Jewish com­mu­nity had not been con­sulted.

By Wed­nes­day, a cross-party Com­mons Early Day Mo­tion in sup­port of HMD tabled by David Laws, Tom Wat­son and David Bur­rowes had at­tracted over 140 sig­na­tures.

A sim­i­lar num­ber of MPs, in­clud­ing Chan­cel­lor Gor­don Brown and Boris John­son, have signed the Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tional Trust Book of Com­mit­ment to fight­ing racism.

Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Nick Joseph told the JC: “We have been over­whelmed by the in­ter­est and com­mit­ment from all sec­tors of so­ci­ety, as well as by the hun­dreds of lo­cal events that are be­ing or­gan­ised around the UK to mark the day.”

Gor­don Brown sign­ing the HET’s Book of Com­mit­ment on Wed­nes­day

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