Today marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi Germany concentration camp Auschwitz, where millions of Jews were systematically murdered because of their faith and identity.
I recall the unforgettable experience of visiting Auschwitz with Faith Leaders, seeing the eerie piles of glasses, combs and human hair of the victims of genocide vividly reminded me of the sheer inhumanity of Nazis. It also alerted me to the epic inaction of humanity to Stand Together against hatred and prejudice. The horrors of the Holocaust will forever remain an indelible stain on humanity, and we must continue to remind ourselves of the consequences of hatred and the failure of effectively challenge it.
Today I will be joining the survivors of the Holocaust, the Duke and Duchesses of Cambridge, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi, and many other leaders to remember the victims.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi and myself have written a special prayer of remembrance and recommitment, which includes the following words:
“Loving God, we come to you with heavy hearts, remembering the six million Jewish souls murdered during the Holocaust.
In the horrors of that history, when so many groups were targeted because of their identity, and in genocides which followed, we recognise destructive prejudices that drive people apart.”
[Full prayer can be found at http://www.HMD.or.uk]
Holocaust Memorial Day marks the elimination of six million Jews by Nazis but also all of the genocides officially agreed upon by the United Nations which have taken place in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur (Sudan).
As our society is becoming increasingly polarised and respect for difference appears to be declining, it is critically important that Holocaust is marked by all and lessons are learned so that compassion can prevail over hatred, and respect over intolerance in our society.
In our fragile world, many minorities are increasingly feeling under threat. We are witnessing that Rohingya Muslims are on the verge of being systematically eliminated. Uyghurs, who are predominately Muslims, are being put in a network of high-security prison camps, men as being separated from women and children- these are some of the torture tactics that were used by Nazis, albeit there are decisive differences between Holocaust and the appalling persecution of these communities. It is, therefore, more important than ever that all communities #StandTogether (which is this year’s theme of Holocaust Memorial Day) with those who are suffering across the world, because of their faith or belief, background or identity and tackle the growing hatred towards those who are different from us.
No community is immune from hatred and prejudice Remembering the Holocaust is relevant to the process of eliminating violence, hatred, and prejudice from our society, and to ensure Britain continues to be a flourishing and inclusive society.
Imam Qari Asim, MBEChair, Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board