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Embargo: 0001 hours Monday 24 January 2011
NEW CAMPAIGN SHOWS MUSLIM SOLIDARITY
WITH HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY
Muslims voice their solidarity with Jews by today (Monday 24 January) launching “Missing Pages,” a campaign highlighting forgotten stories from the Holocaust. The Exploring Islam Foundation campaign challenges misconceptions about the relationship between Jews and Muslims and is supported by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks.
Launching in the week of Holocaust Memorial Day, “Missing Pages” voices Muslim solidarity with its aims and principles and draws on historical examples of peaceful co-existence between peoples of the two faiths.
The campaign will be launched at an event in Room 4 at the House of Lords on Monday 24 January at which Jewish World War II survivor Dr Scarlett Epstein OBE, who was given asylum in Albania during the Holocaust, will be speaking.
Also speaking will be celebrated Jewish American photographer, Norman Gershman, who will be talking about his project: “Besa – Muslims who saved Jews in World War II”. Gershman’s photographs are currently touring the UK in an exhibition which has been jointly sponsored by the Exploring Islam Foundation and Yad Vashem (the Holocaust memorial in Israel).
The “Missing Pages” campaign (www.missingpages.co.uk) will take Norman Gershman on an exclusive university campus tour to talk about his work, where student Islamic and Jewish societies will come together to co-host a series of events. The tour will be visiting the London School of Economics, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, the University of Leeds, the University of Cardiff, and the School of Oriental and African Studies over the coming week.
Explaining the basis of the campaign, EIF Campaigns Director Remona Aly said:
“We are launching this campaign today because we want to show how Islam promotes diversity and co-existence and has no tolerance of anti-Semitism.
“The message of the “Missing Pages” campaign is more vital now than ever before. Tensions in the Middle East need to be separated from the common shared theological heritage and values of the two faiths, and history of peace and solidarity between Islam and Judaism.
“Denying the Holocaust undermines the principles of Islam and through this campaign we hope to voice our solidarity with the aims and objectives of Holocaust Memorial Day.”
Speaking about her experiences, Dr Epstein OBE said:
“I welcome the "Missing Pages Campaign" for its attempt to improve interfaith relations in general and the relationship between Muslims and Jews in particular.
"I owe my survival to Albania and the generosity of its Muslim people. No country was prepared to offer my family and I asylum from the horrors of the Holocaust, except Albania. The Muslim Albanians welcomed us warmly which came as an extraordinary relief after having experienced the excesses of Nazi persecution.”
Adding his support to the campaign, Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks said:
“The theme of this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Untold Stories’. I am therefore delighted that the “Missing Pages” project will highlight the stories of Muslims who sheltered and saved Jews during the Second World War. As we commemorate the millions who suffered and died in the Holocaust, we will also remember those who risked their lives for the sake of others. He who saves one life, saves the world entire.”
The campaign has also attracted support from other leading organisations and figures including Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband, TV presenter Kristiane Backer, and the Holocaust Educational Trust. For more information please visit the website www.missingpages.co.uk.
Note to editors:
For interviews with EIF, Norman Gershman or Scarlett Epstein OBE or for more information about the campaign and the launch event please contact Katherine Garrett on 07798720851, firstname.lastname@example.org
EIF was established in 2009 to fulfil the following aims:
• Challenge misconceptions surrounding Muslims and Islam
• Raise awareness about the belief, practice, history, and cultures of Islam
• Collaborate with organisations in raising awareness on humanitarian issue
• Highlight the contribution of Muslims to society
Missing Pages follows EIF’s high-profile campaign last year entitled “Inspired by Muhammad” which received widespread media coverage in the UK and international media. www.inspiredbymuhammad.com
For more information on Exploring Islam Foundation visit the website www.eifoundation.net
About Norman H. Gershman
Norman H Gershman is an American Jewish photographer and Founder of the Eye Contact Foundation which promotes understanding and tolerance through portrait photography. Norman travelled to Albania to photograph Muslim families who rescued Jews in WWII. His six year odyssey pays tribute to those who fulfilled ‘Besa’ – a code of honour in Albania that instructs them to protect others from danger at all costs. His book, “Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War Two” depicts poignant images and inspiring stories of Albanian Muslims who sheltered Jews from the Nazis.
About the exhibition
The exhibition, “Besa: A Code of Honour – Muslim Albanians who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust"” has been shown in 75 countries and premiered at the UN, but has never before been to the UK. It was displayed for the first time in the UK at the House of Commons from 17th – 21st January and is currently at the London Jewish Cultural Centre until 1st February, before being taken on to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Holocaust Memorial Day – 27 January
Each year on 27 January the world marks Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). HMD has been held in the UK since 2001 and the United Nations declared this an International event in November 2005. For further information please visit the website www.hmd.org.uk
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