Sunday, September 11, 2005

Report: Blair advisers urge that U.K. cancel Holocaust Day

Report: Blair advisers urge that U.K. cancel Holocaust Day
By Haaretz Service
Advisers appointed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair are proposing that Britain get rid of Holocaust Memorial Day because Muslims find it offensive, the British Sunday Times reported.The draft proposals - which provoked a backlash from British Jewish leaders - want to replace Holocaust Memorial Day with a Genocide Day that would include recognition of Muslim deaths in the West Bank and Gaza, Chechnya and Bosnia, the Times said.A Home Office spokesman said it would consider the proposals but said it regarded the Holocaust as a "defining tragedy in European history," according to the report.
"The very name Holocaust Memorial Day sounds too exclusive to many young Muslims," a member of one of the committees was quoted as saying. "It sends out the wrong signals: that the lives of one people are to be remembered more than others. It's a grievance that extremists are able to exploit."The recommendations, which will be finalized Sunday and submitted to Blair on September 22, were prepared by four committees Blair appointed after the London bombings in an effort to combat extremism."There are 500 Palestinian towns and villages that have been wiped out over the years," Ibrahim Hewitt, chairman of the charity Interpal, told the Times. "That's pretty genocidal to me."Mike Whine, a director of Britain's Jewish Board of Deputies, said the group would fight the proposal."Of course we will oppose this move," he told the Times. "The whole point is to remember the darkest day of modern history.""These Muslim groups should stop trying to evade the enormity of the Holocaust," said Louise Ellman, Labor MP for Liverpool Riverside and a Holocaust Memorial trustee.Britain's Holocaust Memorial Day was first held in January 2001, and has been held on January 27 every year since then.


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