Muslims give their support
MUSLIM PROFESSIONALS demonstrated their support for Holocaust Memorial Day on Tuesday night at an event held by the City Circle charity near London’s Edgware Road.
Auschwitz and Rwandan survivors related their experiences to a predominantly Muslim audience. Professor Brian Brivati of Kingston University and Ger Duijzings of University College London offered academic views on the nature of genocide.
Introducing the event, City Circle chairman Asim Siddiqui said: “The Nazis were able to do what they did by demonising entire minority communities.” He pointed out that Europe was becoming “more fearful of minorities, especially Muslims”.
Referring to last week’s JC/ YouGov poll finding that 28 per cent of young adults did not know about the Holocaust, he said it proved “the need to continually remember and take a day out each year to do that”.
Mr Siddiqui further mused on “how insensitive it is when people deny or belittle the Holocaust”.
Professor Brivati suggested countering Holocaust denial by education and “reclaiming its universality. It was not a crime only against the Jews but a crime against all human beings.”
There was a difference of opinion on the state of Muslim-Jewish relations in the UK, with one Jewish audience member bemoaning them as “terrible. There is a lack of understanding. It is possibly the fault of British education.”
But Altaff Aumeeruwy of Stamford Hill disagreed, remarking that “in my area, Jews and conservative Muslims are side-by-side, with a mosque and a synagogue next door to each other”.
City Circle trustee Shahedah Vawda told the JC: “Islam is about valuing your fellow human beings, and Holocaust remembrance is about remembering all the human beings who died and suffered [in genocides]. I am South African, so I know how important reconciliation is in bringing countries back together.”
Asim Siddiqui (left), Shahedah Vawda, Yahya Birt and the Board of Deputies’ Winston Pickett at the City Circle