UK Politics

Liars and Bigots

You will remember the following exchange in Sunday’s Panorama, relating to the MCB’s boycotting of Holocaust Memorial Day in 2005:

Sir Iqbal Sacranie: If you look at the statement, and I would strongly advise you to look at the statement, advise you to look at what was the document which was submitted to the Home Office which made it absolutely clear that it is all atrocities, Rwanda, Bosnia, it happened to be the fact, it is there, the vast majority of atrocities that we have seen in these modern times have been Muslims.

John Ware: You’ve cited Rwanda in your statement?

Sir Iqbal Sacranie: It is, it was cited there, it’s been quoted time and again.

John Ware: In your statement to the Home Office?

Sir Iqbal Sacranie: Indeed it is. It’s clearly been mentioned.”

John Ware: It’s true – the MCB did cite Rwanda – but only after the story broke accusing them of boycotting Holocaust Memorial day.

When the MCB published their letter to the Home Office it mentioned by name only Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir.

Here is a link to an extract from the letter in question to the Home Office, reproduced on the MCB’s own website. I have cut and pasted it below, lest the MCB remove it and then try to deny that it was ever there. And just above it is the second statement, which mentions, for the first time, Rwanda.

If that is indeed a true extract from the letter referred to, Iqbal Sacranie certainly appears to be a liar.

But what are we to make of this statement from the MCB’s first news release setting out their basis for boycotting the 2001 Holocaust Memorial Celebration?

1. Firstly, it totally excludes and ignores the ongoing genocide and violation of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.
2. It includes the controversial question of alleged Armenian genocide as well as the so-called gay genocide.

Although the massacred Armenians were not Muslims, is it not at least possible that the Nazis murdered some gay Muslims too?

UPDATE – see my comment below: In fact, the Armenian massacre was not commemorated in 2001, although there was a locally organised event in Cardiff in 2005 which marked it. The theme of Holocaust Memorial Day 2004 was From the Holocaust to Rwanda, which drew detailed parallels between the two events.

MCB and the Holocaust Memorial Day

Sun 23 Jan 2005

In the light of the misleading report in The Sunday Times (23rd January 2005) the MCB has decided to place on record its letter on the subject from the MCB Secretary General to the Home Office minister responsible for Faith Community issues, Fiona Mactaggart MP: “…it is important that the Muslim community is represented at such National events and [it] would like to do so if the Memorial Day is inclusive of the sufferings of all people and does not exclude or ignore other ongoing genocide and human right abuses around the world, notably, in the occupied Palestinian territories, Chechnya, Kashmir, etc. I also wish to restate our position and our views on the tragic Holocaust event. British Muslims share with the Jewish community their sense of pain and anguish. None of us must ever forget how the Holocaust began. We must remember it began with hatred that dehumanised an entire people, that 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 could be 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 be able to see when the same abuses occur in our time.