بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Srebrenica 25 Years On... When Will We Stop Saying ‘Never Again’ to Genocides Against Our Ummah?
July 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, when Serb forces entered the enclave of Srebrenica, designated as a ‘safe zone’ by the UN during the Bosnian war, and subsequently executed 8000 Muslim men and boys in cold blood at sites around north-eastern Bosnia. Following the massacre, which was described as the worst incident of mass murder in Europe following World War II, the world pledged: never again. However, we live in a world where the mass murder of Muslims in Srebrenica is replicated in lands across the globe – from Syria to Myanmar, Gaza to Kashmir; Yemen to Central Africa; and where campaigns of ethnic cleansing and religious persecution are rife against Muslims in East Turkestan, India, Russia, Crimea and elsewhere. So when will we truly say, “Never Again” to the slaughter and mass oppression of our Muslim Ummah?
“Never Again” means...ending that which allowed the tens of thousands of Muslim men, women and children to be killed in Bosnia, and which enabled the subsequent genocides against the Muslims to take place – the absence of the System of Allah (swt), the Khilafah, in this world, the shield and guardian of the Believers that is obliged to defend the blood of the Believers and stand for the interests of Islam and the needs of humanity. It was this Islamic system that established peace, development and unity between people of different tribes, ethnicities and religious beliefs in the Balkans for over 500 years due to the justice of the Islamic laws. This is why the British historian T. W. Arnold in his book, The Preaching of Islam, wrote regarding the treatment of non-Muslims who lived under the Uthmani Khilafah (Ottoman Caliphate): “...though the Greeks were numerically superior to the Turks in all European provinces of the empire, the religious toleration thus granted them, and the protection of life and property they enjoyed, soon reconciled them to prefer the domination of the Sultan to that of any Christian power”. It was this state which not only moved to the defence of oppressed Muslims as Islam obligates, and as we saw with the actions of the 12th century Uthmani Khalifah Suleyman 1st who sent an armada of 36 ships to rescue 70,000 Muslims of Al-Andalus who were being persecuted by its Christian rulers and settled them in the lands of the Khilafah....but it was a state which also responded to the cries of oppressed non-Muslims, as we saw in 1492, under the Uthmani Khilafah, Khalifah Bayezid II, who sent his entire naval fleet to rescue 150,000 European Jews who were being persecuted by the Christian rulers of Spain and also settled them in the Khilafah.
“Never Again” means...rejecting the toxic concept of nationalism and the nation-state model of politics which led to the Balkans becoming a hotbed of ethnic tensions and conflicts, and which inspired the Serbs to execute a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Bosnian Muslims to create their vision of a Greater Serbia with an ethnically pure non-Serb territory along the Drina River.
It is this poisonous concept of nationalism and the installation of Western-imposed artificial national identities and borders between our Muslim lands which causes Saudi Arabia to starve to death their Muslim brothers in Yemen – over their national interests and the national interests of their western masters; and which drives Muslim countries such as Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia to push away desperate Rohingya Muslims from their lands, and watch them drown at sea because they view them as harmful to their national interests and economy; and which causes Muslim governments such as Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and others to watch their Muslim brothers and sisters being massacred in Ash-Sham or 1 million Uyghur Muslims being incarcerated in China’s internment camps in East Turkestan - and do nothing to defend them because it’s not in their national interests to do so! What a despicable and abhorrent concept this is! The Prophet (saw) said:
«لَيْسَ مِنَّا مَنْ دَعَا إِلَى عَصَبِيَّةٍ وَلَيْسَ مِنَّا مَنْ قَاتَلَ عَلَى عَصَبِيَّةٍ وَلَيْسَ مِنَّا مَنْ مَاتَ عَلَى عَصَبِيَّةٍ»
“Whoever calls to Assabiyah (tribalism and Nationalism), fights for Assabiyah or dies following the way of Assabiyah is not one of us.” (Abu Dawud)
And “Never Again” means... rejecting dependence on foreign governments to solve our problems as an Ummah – whether it be through the United Nations (UN) or individual western governments. The scale of complicity of such powers in the crimes against the Muslims was evident in the Bosnian war as it has been in past and present conflicts. We saw for example, how the UN demilitarised the Bosnian fighters in Srebrenica while leaving the Serbs armed and able to acquire military ammunition from their allies, and how the UN abandoned the Muslims of Srebrenica to the Serb butchers, despite pledging to protect them. Former President of the Presidency Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Harith Siladic talked about the dirty role that the major powers played in the war and the UN alignment with the Serbs, and how the Serbs were receiving support from major powers such as France and Britain. Sylvie Matton, author of a book regarding the betrayal of Srebrenica, “Srebrenica: An announced Genocide”, wrote about how the major powers colluded to give Serbia’s leader, Slobodan Milosevic, what he wanted: the 3 Bosnian enclaves of Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde. Allah (swt) tells us:
(وَالَّذينَ كَفَرُواْ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ إِلاَّ تَفْعَلُوهُ تَكُن فِتْنَةٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَفَسَادٌ كَبِيرٌ)
“And those who disbelieve are allies to one another. Unless you do this (protect each other) there would be tumult and oppression on earth, and great mischief.” [Al-Anfal:73] And indeed, we witness again and again this alliance of the disbelieving governments against the Muslims and Islam – from their collusion against the Islamic revolution in Syria, to their support and protection of the ‘Zionist’ entity, to preventing the victory of the Pakistan army against India in Kashmir as we saw during the Kargil Heights conflict.
This heart-breaking legacy of genocides which afflict our Ummah will never be brought to an end unless we learn the true lessons from history and from our Deen...which is that security and protection for the Muslims will never be realised until we reject all non-Islamic sources for the solutions to our problems and organising of our lands, and instead place all our attention and efforts in establishing with urgency the state and unifying system prescribed by Allah (swt) to be our shield, protector and guardian: the Khilafah!
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Director of the Women’s Section in The Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir
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