Birmingham MP for Perry Barr, Khalid Mahmood, is an MP who is not frightened to speak out. Not willing to ‘toe the line’ as British Muslims boycott the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz, he openly states that he is proud to be a Muslim but that the boycott is a big mistake. Khalid goes on to explain that the people murdered in Hitler’s Holocaust were not only Jews but included Gypsies, Poles and other nationalities despised by the German regime.
The Muslim Council of Britain and its spokesperson Iqbal Sacranie, informed the home secretary that representatives from their organisation would not attend unless the event was treated as an ‘inclusive day’ which recognised the deaths through injustice in Palestine, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia rather than just the Jewish Holocaust.
The Muslim Council has also claimed that 95-98% of those stopped and searched on Britain’s streets are Muslim. Quite how this could possibly be true when just ethnic black statistics are added into the equation defies belief. Indeed, this is so far from the truth as to be almost laughable, if it were not so serious an allegation.
Just what are the Muslim Council hoping to achieve? Are they trying to alienate themselves from the general population or score points for using the event to raise the profile of Palestine? This was a tragic event of epic proportions. Whatever your faith or religious conviction, to deny your empathy and support against what happened in the Holocaust, one of the most terrible and shameful events in human history, is clearly unacceptable. It also begs the question - Just what have we learned from our historic past as a human race?
The labour government has for far too long tried to appease almost anyone who claims to act on behalf of a religious or racial council or ethnic group to the extent that it runs the risk of aiding and abetting in the erosion of our basic right of free speech and democracy.
With the current level of conflict and strife around the globe and the future of Palestine remaining unclear, there would appear to be no better time for all parties to sit around the table and talk and to make moves to reconcile differences and bitter resentment. Why has the Muslim Council chosen this year to boycott the commemorations?
As religious groups flex their muscles and strive for their own identity, acceptance and harmony with multi cultural UK, are we running the risk of creating an even more divided and splintered society? Recent religiously motivated events include protests by the Sikh community over a play being performed at the Rep in Birmingham and the Birmingham University withdrawing staff website facilities due to protests from the Jewish Community over accusations of anti Jewish propaganda, are often viewed by the general public with mistrust and scepticism.