Sardar, Holocaust Memorial Day and the MCB - response from Inayat Bunglawal
Ziauddin Sardar (New Statesman, Jan 23) claims that by calling for the Holocaust Memorial Day to be renamed to a Genocide Memorial Day, the Muslim Council of Britain has "unwittingly declared that Jewish suffering was less important than the suffering of others." This is a rather bizarre interpretation of our actual position.
The MCB fully accepts and recognises the monstrous horror and cruelty that underpinned the Nazi holocaust. However, we believe that across the globe - and not just among Muslims - there is a widespread view that we in the west practise double standards and devalue the lives of non-westerners. In the MCB's view, the subtext of the Holocaust Memorial Day would thus be better served by a Genocide Memorial Day and it would help make the cry "Never Again" real for all people who suffer, even now.
In the last decade we have seen genocide take place in both Rwanda (1 million killed in 1994 in the space of a few weeks) and Chechnya (10% of its population has been killed since the Russians launched their invasion of the tiny republic. The killings continue.) Notice also how our own government refuses even to discuss how many Iraqis have died since the ill-begotten 2003 invasion.
We need to do more than just reflect on the past. We must be able to recognise when similar abuses occur in our own time and clearly uphold the principle that the lives of all people, regardless of race or religion are to be valued equally.
The Muslim Council of Britain
London E15 1NT