On Wednesday 15 July 2020 , the East London Mosque and Bosnia Heritage Foundation held a Zoom commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide, featuring a host of guest speakers to share real life accounts from the tragic event as well as poetry, reflections, prayers and discussions on how to move forward.

The event was broadcast live on the East London Mosque Facebook and Al-Jazeera TV. Don’t worry if you missed it, you can watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/eastlondonmosque/videos/927712161083174/ 

The event began with an introduction from Mujibul Islam, Co-Founderof the Bosnia Heritage Foundation and moderator of the event for the evening. He highlighted the importance of remembering the Srebrenica genocide, before thanking the organisers, the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre and the Bosnia Heritage Foundation. 

The evening proceeded with beautiful Qur’an recitation from Imam AbdulAziz Drkic, Senior Instructor at the Faculty of Islamic Studies at Sarajevo University and Khatib at Bakije Mosque in Sarajevo. This was followed by two short videos:

  1. The first video featured the names of the 9 newly identified victims buried last Saturday in Srebrenica and clips from the memorial.
  2. The second video was a short educational video about the meaning and history of the White Flower, courtesy of IlmFeed.

The next guest speaker was Hasan Nuhanovic, genocide survivor, former UN interpreter during the war; author of The Last Refuge. He shared his first-hand account of the tragic event as well as his thoughts and 25 years on from the massacre. Below is a trailer for the upcoming film by Hasan shown during the event – 

The Last Refuge | synopsis: In 1995, Hasan Nuhanović narrowly escaped the genocide of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. An army of ethnic Serbs, encamped around the town, executed more than 8000 Bosniaks. Hasan’s brother, father and mother were among them. The Last Refuge tells some of this story, taken from his memoir, while also capturing a wider story of the villages of eastern Bosnia today; once thriving rural communities, now a painful reflection of institutional neglect and the legacy of genocide." 

This was followed by a video presented courtesy of Al-Jazeera TV explaining the ethnic cleansing of the Bosnian muslims by Serb Forces. 

The program continued with many inspiring speeches from various guest speakers, such as: Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General, International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) at The Hague who spoke about her work helping bring closure to families of the genocide victims; Spoken-word artist Annotate shared some beautiful poetry on the Srebrenica massacre followed by a video presentation by Jasmin Agovic, Photographer based in Sarajevo who held a photo exhibition of experts recovering and identifying mortal remains of genocide victims from mass graves. Sehija Dedovic, Founder and President of the NAHLA (Centre for Education and Research) in Bosnia shared an important reminder on finding the strength to move on; followed by Vanja Flipovic, Bosnian Ambassador to the UK, sharing his thoughts on the road ahead, touching on themes around justice, tolerance and not remaining silent as oppression goes on. This nicely tied in with the next guest speaker, MP Yasmin Qureshi, current Shadow International Development Minister and the Chair of Srebrenica APPG since 2010 who shared her ultimate lessons for humanity from the Srebrenica genocide.

The evening drew closer to an end with short messages from Rev. Alan Green, Rector at St John’s Church in Bethnal Green, Zara Mohammed, Assistant Secretary-General at the Muslim Council of Britain, with closing remarks from chairman of the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre Muhammad Habibur Rahman.

Concluding calls to action were:

  1. Visit Bosnia – the Bosnia Heritage Foundation (BHF) organises holidays, historical and educational tours, camping and so on.
  2. Bosnia Trust – Cow Project. Help the needy and poor move away from poverty so they can help others. To find out more, visit: bosniatrust.com
  3. Organise events in your own locale all year around to raise awareness. Contact BHF for additional resources and to help with planning
  4. Visit Srebrenica Memorial Centre website for info and resources srebrenicamemorial.org/en
  5. Volunteer for BHF[email protected]

The event ended with a beautiful du‘a (supplication) by Imam AbdulAziz Drkic and a nasheed by Mustafa Isakovic called “The Flower of Srebrenica.”