On Holocaust Memorial Day let’s stand united against hatred
Over the past year we have seen increasing division in UK politics. While not unusual in a profession like ours, we must actively acknowledge the negative impact this can have - not just in Parliament but throughout society.
This Holocaust Memorial Day, it is more important than ever to remind ourselves we must actively work through our differences and use our shared experiences as a means to greater unity.
As trustees of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, we urge you to reflect on the past today – and learn from genocide for a better future.
Lessons from the Holocaust are still alive and urgent in today’s divided world. We look to the Holocaust, as a Muslim and a Christian, as a stark reminder of how brutal and inhumane we can be when prejudice is left unchallenged.
Recent government statistics show that the majority of hate crimes in the UK are racially motivated, accounting for three quarters of such offences between March 2020 and March 2021. It is clear this is not a problem that can be resolved overnight. And it’s also not a problem that appears overnight. It starts when we use divisive language; when prejudice, bigotry and hostility are allowed to roam unchallenged.
Look to our common values of fair play, empathy and tolerance, and use them as a counter to the rise in hate crime
The Office for National Statistics reported that online abuse crimes have surged by 78 per cent over the past four years, with one in five children aged 10 to 15 said to have experienced cyberbullying in 2021. These figures are but the tip of the iceberg.
Today we come together, a Conservative MP and a Labour MP, urging you to choose unity over the division of hatred. Look to our common values of fair play, empathy and tolerance, and use them as a counter to the rise in hate crime.
Let today, Holocaust Memorial Day, be a day of learning, a day of empathy, and a day of kindness. A day where we hear firsthand testimonies of Holocaust and genocide survivors – and learn from their past – for a better future. And let that be our high bar, not just for a day but for a lifetime.
This year, like last, we will be able to take part in the annual Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony online, united despite our differences. We will both be lighting candles – each in our own window – at 8pm this evening to remember those who were murdered for who they were and to stand against hatred in the world today.
John Howell OBE is the Conservative MP for Henley. Tulip Siddiq is the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn. They are Trustees at Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. The U.K. 2022 Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony will be broadcast online at 7pm today here.
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