(Reuters) - British Muslim leaders are unwilling to attend this
week's commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz death
camp, arguing that Holocaust Memorial Day should honour victims
of genocide everywhere.
main Islamic group said it should be called Genocide Memorial
Day and commemorate all mass killings, including Bosnia, Rwanda
and in Palestinian territories where up to 3.6 million
Palestinians live under Israeli occupation.
has also committed mass killings," said Inayat Bunglawala,
spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain.
is undeniable," he told Reuters. "It has dispossessed
a Palestinian nation. It is an insult to them if we don't
recognise their deaths. The cry 'Never Again' should be for all
council, representing 1.6 million Muslims across the country,
has written to Home Office Minister Charles Clarke spelling out
their reasons for declining their invitation to attend.
are not belittling the Holocaust. We share the immense pain and
anguish felt in the Jewish community about the Holocaust, but
feel Britain is a multi-faith country and everyone should be
involved," Bunglawala said.
had been the Council's standpoint since the inception of
Holocaust Memorial Day in 2001, he added.
believe the term Holocaust Memorial Day in the title is not
inclusive," he said.
Board of Deputies, an umbrella group for the 750,000 Jews living
in Britain, was disappointed by the Muslims' stance.
is regrettable that they have declined this year especially as
we commemorate the liberation of the camps by Allied
forces," said a spokesman.
Board refute any suggestion that the Israelis are committing
genocide," he added.
part of British commemorations, the Queen is hosting a reception
on Thursday for Holocaust survivors and British veterans who
liberated the death camps.
grandson Prince Harry provoked outrage earlier this month when
photographed at a costume party wearing a swastika armband and a
Nazi army uniform.
prince, third in line to the throne, apologised for his mistake
but Jewish rights groups and politicians said he should do more.
Nazis murdered six million Jews and millions of others,
including Poles, homosexuals, Soviet prisoners and gypsies.
Millions more were imprisoned or forced to work as slaves.