A planned exhibition celebrating Muslim Albanians who helped, protected and rescued their Jewish neighbours during the Holocaust has been scrapped.
No reason has been given for the cancellation, but Rabbi Natan Levy, head of operations at Faith Forums for London, and one of the organisers behind the event, said: “We will continue to focus on building local relations even though this event has been cancelled. However, we are confident after reviewing plans there is goodwill to continue working with communities in Barnet.’
The venue was put under pressure by opponents of the exhibit including Roshan Salih, editor of British Muslim news site 5 Pillars, who urged a boycott.
The event was intended to be part of the mosque’s drive to open and maintain dialogue with its neighbours, in the wake of objections made to its opening, as the Centre for Islamic Understanding.
The Yad Vashem event, due to have been held on Sunday, looks at the response of Muslim Albanians who defied Nazi occupiers. Albanians did not just protect their own Jewish citizens but also offered sanctuary to Jews who had arrived in Albania and faced deportation to camps.
Levy called the exhibition “a powerful reminder that during the Jewish community’s darkest hour, the Muslim community in Albania were one of the few who did not stand by when the Nazis attempted to eradicate Jewish neighbours. It’s important to remember we have historically supported each other.”