19 May 2016
Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, was part of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation’s Council of Imams and Rabbis visit to Srebrenica, the site of the first genocide on European soil since the Second World War.
This ground-breaking trip was the first time that such a group, of very senior imams and rabbis, have visited Srebrenica together.
The group visited Potocari in the enclave of Srebrenica, where 10,000 Muslim civilian men and boys were massacred by Serbian paramilitary forces in 1995. Mehri Niknam laid a wreath on behalf of the group at the Srebrenica memorial at Potocari.
The imams and rabbis met with Hasan Hasanovic, a survivor of the genocide who shared his own personal experiences with them. They also met with a representative of the Mothers of Srebrenica – all of whom lost husbands, sons, and fathers in the genocide. Muslim and Jewish prayers were said by the group at the cemetery where the victims are buried.
The party also visited Gallery 17/07/95, which documents the genocide.
Danny said: “It was both depressing and exhilarating to join a group of rabbis and imams visiting Srebrenica. It was depressing because, despite the Shoah and the pledge ‘never again’, the treatment of Bosnian Muslims by the Serbs reminded me how much had not been learnt.
“On the other hand, I met a Mother of Srebrenica – who lost both her sons and her husband in the barbarity – and yet, as she explained, for the sake of her daughter she has decided to make something positive of her life.
“The Council of Rabbis and Imams has existed for some time, but the trip offered a pastoral opportunity to explore and understand the human condition in both a theological and practical sense, as well as to get to know each other away from formal meetings.”
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