The prime minister’s special representative for freedom of religion and belief, the Conservative peer Lord Ahmad, has given a passionate commitment to the United Nations General Assembly that the British government will do everything possible to stamp out antisemitism.
Lord Ahmad, one of the most senior Muslims in the country, formerly worked with Prime Minister Theresa May in the Home Office as communities minister.
He said he was “proud” to reaffirm Britain’s commitment to “combating the scourge of antisemitism”. Britain had been the first government to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, and Lord Ahmad urged other governments to follow suit.
He said: “As global leaders we must act responsibly to ensure future generations reflect on the lessons from the Holocaust and recognise our shared humanity.
“Seven decades after the Holocaust, society still cannot say that antisemitism has been eradicated; nor can it claim that genocide is a thing of the past. As recently as August 2018 the United Nations concluded that the Burmese military had inflicted genocide against the Rohingya.
“The UK government is committed to religious tolerance in the UK and globally. Through the government backed Holocaust Educational Trust and their world-leading Lessons from Auschwitz programme, 36,000 students have visited Auschwitz — and then supported this next generation to share their learning with fellow students and to fight antisemitism and all forms of hatred in every community of the land.
“The British government is determined that the genocide of six million Jews will never be forgotten. A spectacular and poignant Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre, will be erected right next to Parliament, reminding all of us of the depths to which humanity can sink, and the importance of robustly opposing all forms of bigotry”.
Lord Ahmad was confident and optimistic about future relations between Britain’s diverse communities. He said he believed that there had been “a real step change among progressive-thinking imams” in the Islamic community, towards those who “peddle hatred against the Jewish community.” At the core of British society, the peer said, “right-minded people will want to change things. The tapestry of Britain today is enriched by this legacy between our faiths, and our attitude to combatting hatred”.