May 27, 2024

AFP, SREBRENICA, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Jewish and
Muslim dignitaries launched a passionate appeal for peace on Saturday from the
Bosnian town of Srebrenica on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as
deadly fighting rages in the Gaza Strip.

A “Jewish-Muslim Initiative for Peace” was presented and signed at the
Srebrenica Genocide Memorial Centre by the President of the World Federation of
Bergen-Belsen Associations and American lawyer, Menachem Rosensaft, and the
religious leader of Bosnian Muslims, Husein Kavazovic.

The place where the appeal was launched holds a symbolic weight, as the
Bosnian town saw around 8,000 Muslim men and teenagers killed by Bosnian Serb
forces in 1995 — a crime described as genocide by international justice.

“We join together in sorrow and our tears become prayers, prayers of
remembrance, but also prayers of hope”, Rosensaft — who is also general
counsel emeritus of the World Jewish Congresss — said at the ceremony.

He added that this “commemoration” of the victims of the Holocaust and the
Srebrenica genocide was also the time and place to “jointly commit” to act to
“prevent the horrors we remember here today from being repeated”.

“We remember six million innocent Jews killed and many millions of other
victims of fascist and Nazi ideology,” said the Bosnian Grand Mufti.

We do this at the place where, half a century after the historic ‘Never
Again’, humanity had again failed its test of responsibility,” he added.

More than six million European Jews were exterminated by the Nazis during
the Second World War, including around 12,000 in Bosnia, virtually the entire
local community.

“Muslims and Jews are one body. Our ties are strong, forged in times of
hardship as well as in times of prosperity… Our two peoples have suffered and
have been subjected to attempts to eradicate them”, Kavazovic said, referring
to Bosnian Jews and Muslims.

In the peace initiative, signed in the presence of the president of the
association of mothers of Srebrenica, Munira Subasic and the president of the
Jewish community of Bosnia Jakob Finci, the two men called for “forging the
path of reconciliation” and “actively building peace”.

Both commemorated the Israeli victims of the bloody attack on Israel by the
Islamist movement Hamas on 7 October and the Palestinian victims of the Israeli
response in the Gaza Strip.

“Resistance to occupation cannot justify criminal acts, just as the call to
fight terrorism cannot justify the murder of civilians and collective
punishment”, top Bosnian Islamic cleric said.

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