July 11 Day of Remembrance for Srebrenica Genocide
(Plainfield, IN – July 11, 2009) The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) commends the European Parliament for proclaiming July 11 as the day of remembrance for the Srebrenica genocide. The date commemorates the biggest war crime in Europe since the end of WWII when Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic massacred over 8000 Bosniak men and boys who were separated from the female population of Srebrenica and summarily executed them on the ground of their religious identity.
“Proclaiming July 11 as a day of remembrance for the Srebrenica genocide is important not only for the world to remember the victims of this atrocity, but to make sure that all people of good will work to prevent future genocides,” ISNA Executive Council Member Sami Catovic said. Sami’s paternal ancestral homeland is Bosnia. His father fled from Bosnia after his family was massacred in the genocidal campaigns carried out by Serb extremists during World War II.
The Srebrenica massacre was designated as genocide by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal. Bosnia Muslims came under attacks by Serbian forces in 1992 upon the breakup of the former state of Yugoslavia. The ensuing war left 200,000 people dead and displaced millions. The United States is now the home to over 98,000 Bosnian Americans.
In the final months of the war, Serb forces overran the city of Srebrenica, killing some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in one of the most shocking massacres in modern history. The people of Srebrenica thought they were safe under the protection of the UN peacekeepers.
Bosnian Muslims, still struggling with the civil war memories and aftermath, continue to embrace their pluralist society. Through the able leadership of many of their civic and religious leaders, including that of the Grand Mufti of Bosnia Mustafa Ceri?, Bosnians are working diligently to build their community and promote peaceful cooperation across religious and ethnic boundaries.
Today another 500 coffins will join the thousands buried in the memorial graveyard outside of Srebrenica.