Holocaust Memorial day is too exclusive, claims Muslim group

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Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, writes in an op ed in the Guardian that Britain needs to remember all of the victims of genocide, not just Jewish victims.

The Muslim Council of Britain, along with other faith-based organisations, received a consultation paper from the Home Office in 1999, proposing the establishment of a National Holocaust Memorial Day.

The MCB has always denounced the monstrous cruelty and inhumanity that underpinned the Nazi Holocaust, as we clearly stated in our response: "The MCB unhesitatingly and wholeheartedly supports the prime minister's determination that the horrendous crimes against humanity committed during the Holocaust are never forgotten." After the world vowed "never again" at the end of the second world war, though, we have seen the same barbarism again, against peoples in Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Chechnya and recently in Darfur. So we said that our common humanity called upon us to also recognise the crimes perpetrated against other people, and we called for the establishment of an EU genocide memorial day. Such a day would help dispel the - frankly racist - notion that some people are to be regarded as being more equal than others.

By being racially selective we could end up in the peculiar situation of the US, which has a federally mandated and funded Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. This would not be so incongruous if other crimes - ones in which the US was involved - were also to be recognised. As Norman Finkelstein states in The Holocaust Industry: "Imagine the wailing accusations of hypocrisy in the US were Germany to build a national museum in Berlin to commemorate not Nazi genocide but US slavery or the extermination of the Native Indians."

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