On Friday 14th July at 6pm, Oldham 6th Form College was delighted to host, in partnership with Faith Network 4 Manchester, (FN4M) Oldham Interfaith Forum and Oldham Council a very special and marvelous Memorial event as part of the 500 National Remembering Srebrenica UK commemoration events. The main ‘Srebrenica Memorial Day’ took place on 11th July at the London Guild Hall.
Attended by over 60 people as well as being a memorial event, there was also a celebration of Bosnian culture, poems read by Bosnian children, cake cutting, Bosnian food and artifacts.
Organised by Qaisra Shahraz, a novelist, and Co-Chair of FN4M, Peter Roberts, Vice-Principal of Oldham 6th Form College, Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Shadab Qumer, Cllr Shaid Mushtaq, and Fazal Rahim and his team of Oldham Interfaith Forum, the event was an excellent examplar of partnership working and in bringing together people of all ages, faiths and from various institutions of Oldham and Greater Manchester. Wonderful hospitality and food was provided by the Oldham interfaith team.
Guest speakers included Debbie Abrahams MP for Oldham, Angela Rayner MP for Ashton-Under-Lyne, Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Shadab Qumer, Elinor Chohan, Rev. Howard Sutcliffe, Fr Phil Sumner, and the Bosnian survivor, Dudiya Zilic, who mesmerised the audience by sharing her experience of what life was like during the war.
Key themes of the evening and messages promoted were, ‘We’ll Never Forget’ ‘Say No to hate’ ‘We Stand Together’ and ‘More in Common’.A banner with slogan ‘Spread Hummus Not Hate’ was used to promote message of peace. The event was introduced by the Vice-Principal of Oldham 6th Form College and wonderfully compered by Cllr Shaid Mushtaq. Other members of the faith network for Manchester, Charles Kwaku-Odoi – Co-Chair, Grange Williams – Vice Chair and Rupama Parul K Shah Flynn – the Secretary also attended and supported Qaisra on the night.
Here are some beautiful pictures of that evening.
Ready for our wonderful Srebrenica Remembrance Event, Bosnian ornaments & items courtesy of Dudia Zilic and her family.
Speakers – All our speakers were wonderful. We were delighted to host them all.
Audience – Our guests thoroughly enjoyed the event.
Excellent hospitality provided by Oldham Interfaith forum – Thank you to Fazal, Mufti Helal & team.
Prayers & Poetry: Performance by Bosnian children & women
Networking: Everyone had a lovely time networking including our VIP guests Debbie Abrahams MP for Oldham, Angela Rayner MP for Ashton-Under-Lyne and wonderful Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Shadab Qumer who supported me in organising this event in oldham with Cllr Shaid Mustaq.
These are some of the qoutes from our speakers
1. Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Shadab Qumer:
22 years on from the massacre..I was 21 years old….i remember seeing all the horrific images on T.V. feeling helpless as to what was happening.When we talk about Srebrenica we talk mainly about the 8372 victims who were mainly Muslim men and boys.
We need also not forget the 20 to 50 thousand women and young girls that were subjected to sexual violence. There is not a exact number as the majority of them have remained silent due to stigma…shame…and fear.
2. Fazal Rahim coordinator of Oldham Interfaith Forum:
“It is important for us to remember and learn from history. Having visited both Srebrenica and Auschwitz, and seen the impact of what can happen when hate of the other takes over.
We must remember, learn and teach the youth of today that ultra nationalism results in genocide” he added further.
3. Angela Rayner MP for Ashton-Under-Lyne:
The massacre at Srebrenica was arguably the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War. What happened must never be forgotten and I was pleased to be able to attend the commemorative event hosted by Oldham Sixth Form College. Their work to raise awareness of the crimes committed during the Bosnian war is invaluable.”
4. Qaisra Shahraz, Novelist and Co-Chair of Faith Network 4 Manchester:
An excellent example of partnership working, the Srebrenica memorial event hosted by 6th Form College was a huge success. Delightful to see over 60 people of all ages and backgrounds coming together, to not only remember the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, but also to celebrate unity with the message of ‘Standing up for one another.”
5. Peter Roberts, Deputy Principal-6th Form College:
It was an honour for the Sixth Form College to host such a moving event. It is vitally important not only that we remember the victims of Srebrenica but also that we do everything we can from proventing something like it from happening again.”
Delighted that Oldham Chronicle covered this event. Here is the article: