July 11, 2012 marked the 17th anniversary of the massacres in Srebrenica in 1995, when more than 8000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces.
Another 520 newly-identified victims were honoured this Monday (July 9) after being identified through DNA tests and were finally buried in Srebrenica.
The Muslim Council of Britain, the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools, sent its delegation to Srebrenica to participate in the mass burial, too belated though, on July 11. The MCB, in a statement, said inter alia:
“This day reminds us all how hate and intolerance towards any community can lead to great destruction and harm.
The massacre in the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina – dubbed as ‘the worst atrocity since World War II’ – was never supposed to have happened. The town was in a UN safe zone, yet when Dutch UN forces capitulated thousands of Muslim men and boys were rounded up and shot by Bosnian Serb militia, led by General Ratko Mladic. Mladic is currently being tried for war crimes at The Hague.
There are many as-yet-unidentified bodies waiting to be reclaimed and families unable to bury their husbands, fathers and sons.”
Muhammad Abdul Bari, Chairman of MCB’s Europe and International Affairs Committee, who along with other MCB volunteers were attending the anniversary events organised by The Cordoba Foundation in Bosnia, said:
“The scenes here are very moving. The families of the victims have suffered for 17 years and some continue to wait even longer, not knowing where their loved ones have lain. It is some hope today that at least the families and relatives of the latest 520 victims identified can have some closure as they lay them to rest.
“We must say ‘never again’ to the wickedness of ethnic and religious hatred, wherever it raises its ugly head.”
The MCB circulated a Khutba (Friday sermon) by the Grand Mufti of Bosnia, Mustafa Ceric, to all of its 500 affiliated organisations to remember the dead and pray for the victim’s families and the deceased. The Khutba, circulated by the courtesy of The Cordoba Foundation, was prepared to remind Muslim congregations of this important event in human history.