A moving service commemorated the worst mass killing since the holocaust was held at Dewsbury Town Hall.
The event remembered the Srebrenica massacre, when more than 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces on July 11-16 in 1995.
It was hosted by pupils from Batley Girls’ High School and Westborough High School and attended by minister for faith and communities, Dewsbury’s Baroness Warsi.
Mashuda Shaikh, from Kirklees Council’s community cohesion team, gave a moving speech in which she described her own visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina to learn more about genocide.
She described facing the true horror of the massacre and meeting the wives of men who were killed – many of whom are still trying to find the bodies of their loved ones. “It was horrific,” she said. “It was the first time in my life that I have smelt death.”
She told the audience that some women were trying to identify their husbands from a single bone.
“That day my heart may have broken. I couldn’t comprehend how this could happen in Europe.”
The audience were also shown a memorial film about the genocide. Baroness Warsi spoke told the audience why she felt it was important to remember Srebrenica.
“The ugly head of discrimination, bigotry and racism...is just under the surface,” she said. She challenged attendees to speak out against hatred, adding: “Because once you don’t the consequences can be horrific.”
Attendees were encouraged to make pledges to take their own action to combat intolerance and hatred in society. The hosts were Usama Iqbal, Mujahid Momaniat, Alisha Hussain, Anisa Omar and Adisa Pudic.
Members of Kirklees’ Bosnian community, including Dr Enes Supuck, from the Batley-based Hilal Bosnian Cultural Society, also attended.