Connect with us

Anti-Muslim Bigotry

3 Points You Need to Know About Srebrenica

Avatar

Published

on

1. Worst massacre in Europe since WWII

bosnia

Srebrenica was the first ever UN safe area. Yet in July 1995 the worst atrocities in Europe since WWII occurred there. Over an 11-day period the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) slaughtered 8,000 Muslim fathers, sons and brothers and buried them in mass graves. They forcibly deported the women and children who were later subjected to sexual and physical violence. This highly organised brutal episode was part of the larger ethnic cleansing campaign during the Bosnian War (1992-1995) where between 20,000-50,000 women were imprisoned and raped in gyms, hotels, abandoned houses and concentration camps.

The International Court of Justice ruled that this massacre constituted genocide. Judge Fouad Riad, from the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, said these were “truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history.”

Aida Civic, a Bosnian Muslim refugee woman from Srebrenica, screams as she enters a container with the remains of around 3,500 killed Bosnian Muslims, most of them from Srebrenica, in an identification centre of the Institute for missing persons in Tuzla in this December 10, 2002 file photo. Twenty years ago on July 11, 1995, towards the end of Bosnia's 1992-95 war, Bosnian Serb forces swept into the eastern Srebrenica enclave, a U.N.-designated "safe haven". There they took 8,000 Muslim men and boys and executed them in the days that followed, dumping their bodies into pits in the surrounding forests.     REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/Files  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY FROM THE FILES PACKAGE “SREBRENICA MASSACRE - 20TH ANNIVERSARYâ€? SEARCH “SREBRENICA MASSACREâ€? FOR ALL 15 IMAGES      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Aida Civic, a Bosnian Muslim refugee woman from Srebrenica, screams as she enters a container with the remains of around 3,500 killed Bosnian Muslims, most of them from Srebrenica, in an identification centre of the Institute for missing persons in Tuzla in this December 10, 2002 file photo. Twenty years ago on July 11, 1995, towards the end of Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, Bosnian Serb forces swept into the eastern Srebrenica enclave, a U.N.-designated “safe haven”. There they took 8,000 Muslim men and boys and executed them in the days that followed, dumping their bodies into pits in the surrounding forests. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/Files

2. The Context – Territorial Conflict between the Orthodox Serbs and the Muslim Bosnians (Bosniaks).

In the aftermath of WWII, 6 Balkan states including Bosnia-Herzegovina together formed the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. After the collapse of Communism, different ethnic groups vied for independence. In the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, three groups fought over control: the Bosnian Muslims (44%), Orthodox Serbs (33%) and Catholic Croats (17%). Despite a referendum declaring Bosnia-Herzegovina an independent state that had gained international recognition, the Bosnian Serbs with outside support mobilised their military forces in order to create a land for ethnic Serbs only. War spread across the country along with ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croatians. The massacre of Srebrenica was part of the war and became the predominant symbol of the conflict. It was after this brutal event NATO intervened and the war ended in 1995.

3. Why should we remember Srebrenica?

PILICA MASS GRAVE

It has been twenty years and families are still searching for their loved ones’ bodies to give them a proper burial. It has been twenty years yet  justice still has not been served to the victims.[1] Only in the last few years has the Srebrenica massacre began to be memorialised in Europe.

In the words of a survivor:

“The work that Remembering Srebrenica is doing is of vital importance. We need to teach people about the genocide, particularly young people, so that they can learn to be tolerant and challenge hatred and prejudice where they see it.”

Nirha Efendic Genocide Survivor[2]

For more information on attending a memorial and resources please visit this website.

References:

Facts, figures and quotes were taken from:

http://www.srebrenica.org.uk/

http://www.history.com/topics/bosnian-genocide

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/world/europe/karadzic-calls-military-commander-as-witness-in-bosnia-genocide-trial.html?_r=0;

For moving pictures see http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/07/20-years-since-the-srebrenica-massacre/398135/

[2] http://www.srebrenica.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2014-Annual-Report-08-Absolute-final-for-website.pdf

Hira Amin is a British muslimah of Pakistani descent. Despite originally being a mathematics graduate, after a few years inside the corporate world, she decided to change paths drastically to studying history. She completed her Masters in the History of International Relations and is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Cambridge. Her focus areas are South Asian Muslims and their migration to the UK, Islam’s interaction with Western imperialism and modernity, feminism and 20th century international history.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Raadiya

    July 14, 2015 at 4:00 PM

    Inna Iil Allahi wa inna ilayhi raageeoun. May Allah (swt) help the Muslim people of Bosnia gain strength and conquer their enemies. And May Allah (swt) help them become a peaceful and just nation.

  2. Avatar

    Muhammad Yusuf Musa

    July 15, 2015 at 1:52 AM

    I shed tears for over 20 mins while reading the story of the survivors! I cant imagine the brutal killings! They have done nothing except the said ” we believe in Allah” Oh Allah have mercy on those killed and help the survivors, strengthen their eeman

  3. Avatar

    Truth

    August 12, 2015 at 3:40 AM

    What a terrible thing. Let us pray to God that such a thing should never happen again. I am not justifying this terrible atrocity but think it is important to know that Balkan non Muslim people have much resentment to Muslims due to –
    1. Ottoman / Muslim persecution of Christians over the centuries of Ottoman / Muslim rule.
    2. Muslim atrocities committed against non Muslim peoples in the Balkans in WW2.
    Let us pray that the love of God and forgiveness will rule.

  4. Avatar

    Freed

    August 17, 2015 at 2:47 AM

    Over 750,000 Serbs died at the hands of Croatians and Bosnian Muslims who colluded with the Nazis in WWII. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was instrumental in helping recruit Yugoslavian Muslims into the Muslim Hanjar SS division, which committed many genocidal acts against the Serbs, who were painted as racially inferior to the Bosnian Muslims and thus worthy of destruction. This set the stage for the animosities of the 1990s.

    In addition to the Bosnian Muslims killed in the late 1990s, thousands of Serbian Orthodox Christian men, women and children were also killed. Because the Serbs are of the Orthodox faith and aligned to Russia, the Western world ignored atrocities against the Serbs and allied with the Muslims and Croats. As a result, we hear only that side of the conflict. In fact, there were three sides who fiercely hated each other and all committed atrocities. It was a very sad situation. The degree of hostility between the three groups shocked even the Nazis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi

Published

on

In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan

Published

on

Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar

JazakAllahuKheiran


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source: DMagazine.com


Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News


Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Bend The Arc


Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

Source: Kera News

 


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center


Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN

 

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

From Sri Lanka – The Niqab Ban and The Politics of Distraction

Avatar

Published

on

This article was originally published on Groundviews

 

As of last Monday, Sri Lanka is taking a seat at the table next to a list of 13 other countries from across the world who have passed legislation banning the niqab or face veil.

Amidst incensed murmurs from certain parliamentarians, and following a discussion with the country’s main Islamic theological body, the All Ceylon Jammiatul Ulema (ACJU), the President’s office has announced that ‘any garment or item which obstructs the identification of a person’s face would be barred.’ Sri Lanka has been under emergency regulations following the Easter Sunday attacks which killed over 250 people. The ban will hold until emergency regulations are lifted.

Ever since the identification of the all-male terrorists behind the massacre as members of militant group ISIS, Muslim women -for some inexplicable reason- were to bear the hardest brunt. Instances of headscarved Muslim women being refused entry at various supermarkets and prominent establishments, was followed by the usual scaremongering via alarmist infographics doing the rounds yet again ‘educating’ the public of the differences between the burqa, hijab, and chador.

A victory indeed for both anti-Muslim voices, as well as to many within the Muslim community seeking to audibly amputate themselves from a supposedly dated form of Islam – one that they claim has no bearing to inherent Sri Lankan Muslim identity.  A view that discards the notion that any religious or ethnic identity is fluid, in flux, and subject to constant evolution.

The grand slam however is primarily for the current political establishment, members of whom are probably high-fiving each other as a result of this kneejerk symbol-politics manoeuvre on having supposedly successfully placated the public of their fears of homegrown terrorism. A move that bleeds hypocrisy for it comes at the cost of subliminally ‘othering’ an already marginalized segment of a minority community, while at the same time PSA’ing for peace and coexistence in this time of crisis.

What is most insulting to the intelligence of our society however, is that amidst all this brouhaha, only few have questioned the actual relevance of this new ban to the current state of our security affairs.

No eye witness report nor CCTV footage showed that any of the suicide bombers from any of the coordinated attacks across the country were on that day wearing the niqab/burqa/chador at the time of inflicting their terror. The men were in fact dressed in men’s attire, with faces completely exposed. It might serve to add here also that they weren’t dressed in traditional Muslim man garb either.

How then did the face veiling Muslim woman get pushed under the bus as the most identifiable sign of radicalism?

It is obvious that the government was cornered into passing this legislation, as was the ACJU too in having to support this move. While all communities have only their praises to sing for the exceptional work of the security forces in tracking down the attackers within only just hours, the country’s elected leadership was in dire need of respite following what many experts claim was a massive intelligence failure, a blunder involving the wrongful identification of a terror suspect, and incompetence in the handling of events overall. A distraction was desperately required. Something needed to give, and it just so happened that the niqab-donning Muslim woman was the easiest scapegoat.

To an outsider unfamiliar with Muslim religious symbolism, the face-veil can come across as alien, even unnerving. And while our first instinct is to otherize in an attempt to help deal with the discomfort of dealing with any unknown, a woman out in the street in a niqab is -for as long as anyone can remember- most certainly not an oddity that has compelled anyone to stop and recite their final rites.

The misguided belief that the face veil is a marker of extremism isn’t and hasn’t ever been based on any empirical research. If studies were to be carried out, results would show that Muslim women in general -let alone those with a face cover- have a little role to play, if any, for acts of terror committed in all the countries that have banned them.

Contrarily, there is a clear proven relationship between terrorist attacks and increases in recorded Islamophobic incidents against Muslims, with women being disproportionately targeted. One can then dare infer that being visibly Muslim carries a greater risk to oneself, than to the people around them.

The niqab ban has been put in place as a security measure they say – a flexing of muscles towards any semblance of radicalization that will deter any future acts of terror in the country. Naturally, the perpetuating of this ideological hegemony is doing Muslim women no favors. If anything, the ban is a wholly counterproductive one, in that it ostracizes an already marginalized segment of a minority community – a sliver of a percentage out of the 10% that is the country’s Muslim population.

If -as commonly believed- veiled Muslim women are being hopelessly persecuted, the ban will serve only to increasingly confine these women to their homes, under the control of the men accused of governing their lives, and further disconnected from being able to assimilate with society. Even more dangerous, there are studies which prove that having to live in an environment that is aggressively policed on the basis of belief is more likely to harbour radicalization.

Absurdity of the non-connection of the attacks with the niqab ban aside, this in itself should be a war cry for secular feminists advocating for everyone’s basic right to the civil freedoms of a liberal society. Where now are the proponents and ambassadors so wholly soaked in the ‘Muslim woman saviour complex?’ A segment of Muslim women has been forbidden from wearing what they feel best represents their Sri Lankan Muslim identity. They were not consulted before this legislation was passed, nor were they given the chance to show their willingness to cooperate on instances where identification was required.

Ludicrously, discourses surrounding veiled Muslim women are paradoxically lobbed back and forth according to the convenience of the times. In times of world peace, they are oppressed and subservient to patriarchal whims and fancies, while in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack there are hostile and threatening, capable of devising all kinds of evil. They are either victims of violence or the perpetrators of it.

This age-old preoccupation with Muslim women’s attire is in actuality a gross conflation of conservatism with extremism. In claiming that a strip of cloth holds the answer to combatting a severe global threat is trivialising the greater issues at hand. If there was a direct correlation between the attacks and veiled individuals, legislation forbidding the covering of the face in public would be wholly justified. But there is none.

Muslim women shouldn’t be faulted for the cracks in the state’s china. In not being able to answer the hard questions of accountability, lapses in acting on available intelligence, and general good governance, those at the top should leave well alone and consider hiding their faces instead.

Continue Reading

Trending