Faith leaders, representatives of the community, officials and school children from four different Islington schools gathered to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, 2017 at Islington Town Hall.
Speakers, including Judith Fox of Islington Faiths Forum, spoke about the need to engage with people who were different from ourselves, whether in terms of religion or culture, and called for tolerance, respect and fair treatment of all members of society.
Seventy-two years after the first Jewish camps were liberated from the inhumane Nazi regime, speakers repeatedly called for peace, saying that conflicts and atrocities continued to abound in our world.
Gena Turghel, MBE, a survivor of Belsen and Auschwitz concentration camps, who lives in London, related her extraordinary tale of survival and escape from the Nazi regime, saying that her determination was to write her memoirs, I Light a Candle, ‘before I forget’, so that generations and generations to come ‘should never ever allow it to happen again.’ Councillor Comer-Schwartz, a quarter Jewish, shared the story of her grandfather who was a survivor of Dachau concentration camp. She concluded her experience, saying ‘don’t just let life go on, but help it to flourish.’
Muzna Al-Naib, a Syrian documentary film-maker and speaker on behalf of Syria Solidarity UK, spoke of the atrocities occurring in Syria at this moment, the tragedies for women and children especially, and the problem of millions of refugees and appealed to solidarity and humanity in common cause with Syrian people: ‘If you are not seeking to change your heart– you must have chosen your own political discourse over your humanity.’
In her closing remarks, Turghel said, ‘it is happening again; we are all human beings, we all want to be happy.’ She said that the reason Hitler had come to power is that he was ‘allowed to persecute people.’
Islington Faiths Forum
With 10 football teams from many different community sites across Islington and made up of c. 100 young people aged between 14-17 years, the Peace Cup Football Tournament was held again this year (its 5th year!) on Sunday, 25th September 2016, at the Market Road football pitches.
The final was really close during the first half, the teams were level pegging, and then in the 2nd half the Muslim Welfare House (MWH) took off and beat Rosemary Kicks 5-1. The quality of football was really good. MySpace FC came third.
This annual tournament is a great opportunity for young people to come and play together, have fun, break down barriers, get to know each other and learn more about peace … all with the inspired support of Absolute Print Ltd, Targeted Youth Support (Islington Council), Islington Faiths Forum and the Access to Sports Project.
The Neighbourhood Police and the Police Cadets came and supported the event too, which was great.
One of the players, Ala-Eddine Bouakaz, said: “The Peace Cup was just amazing. The organisation was excellent and it gathered all the community centres into one. It was a great experience to play football competitively and at the same time safely. It felt like I belong there.”
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development and Junction Ward Councillor, noted:
“I was honoured to present medals and the Cup to the winners of this year’s Peace Cup and would like to thank all those whose hard work helped to make this community event happen. The tournament is a fantastic opportunity for young people in Islington from different communities to be unified in their love of Football.”
The Peace Cup is generously sponsored by local business ‘Absolute Print Ltd’ and supported by Islington Council Targeted Youth Support, the Access to Sports Project and Arsenal in the Community.