Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Stop Islamophobia Week is back for 2013

"The soldier told the mother to make the child stop crying. But when the baby continued to cry, he took it from the mother and slit its throat. Then he laughed", recounted Munira, who lost 22 members of her family.

These events happened in the heart of Europe, just 18 years ago.

This child and more than 8000 other victims were murdered simply because they were Muslims. Yet, as hatred against Muslims rises once again across Europe, the anniversary of this massacre each July is practically forgotten.

This is why MPACUK launches Stop Islamophobia Week on 8th – 14th July every year, to remember our brothers and sisters who died in the Srebrenica Massacre and to take action to stop the growing Islamophobia we are all facing today.

Just recently, after the Woolwich attacks this year, Islamophobia against Muslims has dramatically increased with more than 160 cases being reported to an Islamophobia monitoring hotline. They include nine attacks on mosques, assaults, racial abuse and anti-Muslim graffiti. An improvised petrol bomb was thrown at a mosque in Milton Keynes during Friday prayers, while attacks have also been reported in Gillingham, Braintree, Bolton and Cambridge.

Insha-Allah we will be raising awareness of the threat of Islamophobia and what we all need to do to prevent such hate ever reaching the point where Muslims face ethnic cleansing and genocide, as they did just a few years ago in Bosnia.

We are calling on all our Muslim brothers and sisters and every person who cares about humanity and justice to be part of Stop Islamophobia Week. Islamophobia is a threat to us all, the evidence is all too real:

• An Islamic boarding school was set on fire while innocent children and staff were inside.
• An Islamic community centre and mosque was burnt to the ground. This is not the first arson attack on a mosque.
• Muslim sisters have had their scarves pulled off in the street and been spat at and verbally abused.
• A Muslim student, Yasir Abdelmouttalib, was left with severe brain injuries after being attacked on his way to the mosque by an anti-Muslim gang, who beat him into a coma.
• Imams have been attacked by Islamophobic thugs, entering the mosque and gauging their eyes.

Every single day Muslims face abuse, discrimination and Islamophobia in the media that further fans the flames of hatred. Now is the time to learn the lessons from Srebrenica. Thousands were murdered and tens of thousands forced from their homes for the simple reason that they were Muslims, while the world stood by and watched. Now is the time to say, “Never again” …and to put those words into action.

Source: www.mpacuk.org 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

We said never again

Most people didn't know who the Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) were until it was too late, and almost 200,000 of them were dead between 1992 and 1995, particularly 8000 Muslim men and boys were systematically massacred in July 1995 in Srebrenica. The very majority of people didn't even know who the Rwandans were until 800,000 were ethnically cleansed. We failed all those and many more people in the past and we said “Never Again”.

Right now, the fate of Burma's Rohingya people is hanging by a thread. Racist thugs have distributed leaflets threatening to wipe out this small Burmese minority. Already children have been hacked to death and unspeakable murders committed. All signs are pointing to a coming horror, unless we act.

 Torture, gang rape, execution style killings -- human rights groups are using the term "ethnic cleansing" to describe the brutality in Burma. Already more than 120,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee, many to makeshift camps near the border, while others have fled in boats only to drown, starve, or be shot at by coastguards from neighbouring countries. Reports show that violence is escalating -- earlier this year President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency after another round of deadly attacks, and it’s just a matter of time until there is a large scale massacre. 

Genocides happen because we don't get concerned enough until the crime is committed. The Rohingya are a peaceful and very poor people. They are hated because their skin is darker and their Religion and the majority fears they're 'taking jobs away'. There are 800,000 of them, and they could be gone if we don't act. We have failed too many peoples, let's not fail the Rohingya.

Genocides don’t happen when governments oppose them, but the Burmese regime has been leaning the wrong way. Recently, a government spokesperson admitted that authorities were enforcing a rule that limits the Rohingya population to having only two children and forces couples seeking to get married to obtain special permission. And experts report that government authorities have stood by or even participated in acts of “ethnic cleansing.” President Sein has finally been forced to acknowledge what’s happening to the Rohingya, but he has so far refused to implement plans to stop the violence and protect those at risk.

Burmese President Thein Sein has the power, personnel and resources to protect the Rohingya; all he has to do is give the word to make it happen. In days, he'll arrive in Europe to sell his country’s new openness to trade. If EU leaders greet him with a strong request to protect the Rohingya, he’s likely to do it.

Until he does, the risk of genocide hovers like a dark cloud over not just Burma, but the world. Through their trade relations, UK PM Cameron and French President Hollande have massive leverage with Sein -- if they press him to act when he meets with them this month, it could save lives. Let’s make sure they do. We've failed too many peoples, let's not fail the Rohingya.