By Muhammad Mussa
The London Muslim Centre at the East London Mosque commemorated the 23rd anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide Monday.
Guest speakers included the mosque’s chairman, Muhammad Habibur-Rahman, Dr. Abdullah Faliq of the Bosnia Heritage Foundation, Harun Khan of the Muslim Council of Britain and Bosnian war survivors Dr. Ilijaz Pilav and Resad Trbonja.
“In 1995, we saw in Srebrenica alone over 8,000 people massacred, and we are here tonight like every other year to remember those who have perished and to remember those who will be buried on the 11th of July,” Faliq said.
The commemoration, hosted in conjunction with the Bosnia Heritage Foundation and the Remember Srebrenica Organization, is held annually at the East London Mosque.
“I welcome all of our guests and brothers and sisters today for coming to this event. We are very pleased that you have taken the time to be here on this very important occasion,” said Habibur-Rahman.
“Many of you may have been here before. You may have come to this event one year ago, and some of you may be coming for the first time. But you may know that Alhamdullilah, over many, many years, we have felt the need to hold this commemoration event, and we will continue to hold this on an annual basis,” he added.
The event also included the screening of short films and documentaries showcasing the realities surrounding the Srebrenica genocide and the consequences it had on the people of Bosnia.
“It is an honor and privilege to be here and to relay my stories of the Bosnian war,” said Trbonja.
“At the age of 19, I joined the resistance in Sarajevo and fought against the Yugoslav National Army, who had besieged my city for three years -- the longest siege in history.
“I survived the horrors of the Srebrenica genocide and the other genocides that took place in Bosnia during the war of 1992 to 1995, and my message to you is to fight against prejudice and to spread love and unity.”
The Srebrenica genocide took place on July 11, 1995 and saw over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims massacred by Bosnian-Serb forces under President Slobodan Milosevic and General Ratko Mladic.
It is known to be the single worst act of mass killing since the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Every year, remains of the genocide victims are found in mass graves and are given an honorable burial at the Potocari Memorial Centre in Srebrenica.