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Young Muslims return from working with Bosnia genocide survivors

PUBLISHED: 15:43 02 August 2011 | UPDATED: 16:55 02 August 2011

The Potocari memorial to the Srebrenica massacre

The Potocari memorial to the Srebrenica massacre

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Eleven young British Muslims have returned from Bosnia and Herzegovina after living and working with survivors of Europe's worst genocide since the Second World Ward.

They lived with families around Srebrenica, the site where 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in 1995. Bodies are still being found to this day.

During the month-long trip the group helped villagers set up strawberry farms that will be a source of livelihood for local families who lost everything during the conflict.

While working with the villagers, one of the volunteers, Halima Begum, said: ”I couldn’t really imagine what it was going to be like because of a lack of farming experience, I think the best part of today was everyone coming together. Everyone has had a lot of fun, even in the intense heat we managed to stick together, work together and learn a lot about everyone.

“Another great thing was that we got to see the family we are helping and they showed their gratitude at lunch, you could tell they were really excited because we managed to provide them with a livelihood for next year.”

The volunteers also took part in a 140km peace march over three days, along with thousands of other people, re-enacting the route taken by the Bosnians fleeing the Serbian army.

On July 11 they reached Potocari for the anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre which took place there. They took part in a funeral ceremony for 600 people whose bodies had been found over the last year.

The volunteers travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina as ambassadors of two UK mosques, East London Mosque and the Muslim Community and Education Centre, who helped them raise funds for the strawberry farms.

The project called The Journey, run by the Muslim charity MADE in Europe, aims to build long-term relationships between the local communities in the UK and those in Bosnia.

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