After a hiatus of two years because of restrictions imposed by the worldwide pandemic, Quds Day rallies are back this year. This annual event attracts people from all walks of life, especially in the west. This year’s rallies assumed added significance because people looked forward to participate physically and to the condemn zionist brutalities against the Palestinian people.
Rallies were held in all parts of the world. In North America, there were rallies in several cities. In Canada, where traditionally Toronto has had the singular honor of holding the largest rally in North America, this year several other Canadian cities held their own rallies. These included Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and so on.
In the US, several cities organized Quds Day rallies. These included Washington DC, Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles, among others. What is remarkable about the Quds Day rallies in North America is that they are attended by people of all faiths, and no faiths. There is also always a strong presence of members of the Jewish community that oppose the racist ideology of zionism.
Like last year, the zionists in Occupied Palestine continued to attack the holy Sanctuary and barge into the Masjid al Aqsa with their filthy boots. Tens of thousands of worshippers were prevented from praying inside the sacred mosque. Those inside the mosque were attacked with rubber bullets as well as tear-gassed. This year, the zionists escalated their aggressive tactics by using drones to spray sewage water on Muslim worshippers.
This reflects the zionists’ filthy minds. They know that sewage water is filthy; it stinks and it pollutes the Muslims’ clothes that renders their worship invalid. This is deliberate. The zionists’ aim is to block Muslims from worshipping in Masjid al Aqsa so that the zionists can take it over.
This is why al-Quds matters to Muslims and why its complete liberation from the clutches of the zionists is important. Al-Quds is the first Qibla of Muslims. When Muslims were in control of Al-Quds and the holy land of Palestine, there was peace and stability and all faith communities—Christians and Jews—were free to practice their faith freely. As recipients of Allah’s final revelation, only Muslims are able to protect the rights of other faith communities because we accept earlier scriptures even if their message has been distorted.
Muslims consider the Jews and Christians as ahl al-Kitab (people of the Book). Regrettably, the other faith communities do not accord the same recognition to Muslims, hence the Muslims’ rights are violated.
Take the case of the zionist occupation of Palestine. Since the zionist entity was illegally implanted in Palestine trampling upon the rights of the indigenous Palestinian population, the holy land has had no peace. Indeed, the entire region has been engulfed in wars and bloodshed ever since. The Palestinians were not even consulted when their land was handed over to the zionist marauders from Europe. This what constitutes settler-colonialism.
The zionists have repeatedly perpetrated genocides against the Palestinian people. Even before the zionist entity formally came into existence, marauding zionist gangs perpetrated horrific massacres against the Palestinian people in 1947-1948. Names like Deir Yassin are etched permanently in the memory of not only the Palestinians but Muslims worldwide. Since then, the zionists have continued their killing spree.
Even this year, as Muslims observed the month of Ramadan, zionist gangs continued to trespass on the holy sanctuary in al-Quds/Jerusalem in violation of all norms of civilized behavior as well as against Judaic law. The zionists, however, are not constrained by any laws or morality; as alien invaders of Palestine, their mission is to steal the land of the Palestinians.
Israel is a colonial settler entity, like that of the European settlers in North America, Australia and New Zealand. What makes the case of Palestine even more serious is the location of Masjid al-Aqsa in al-Quds/Jerusalem.
Zionism is an evil ideology that all Muslims are obliged to oppose. Further, the zionists’ continued occupation of al-Quds/Jerusalem and deliberately provocative encroachments on the holy sanctuary are an affront to the sensitivities of all Muslims regardless of where they resides. The zionist entity must, therefore, be confronted by not only Muslims but all fair and justice-minded people everywhere. Zionist injustice cannot be allowed to stand; it must be opposed and stopped.
Since the start of Quds Day rallies, hundreds of thousands of Muslims have participated in such rallies on all five continents. Naturally, the largest rally is held in Tehran but other cities also organize rallies such as Beirut, Sana‘a, Istanbul, Baghdad, Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Pretoria, Cape Town, Dar es Salam and Nairobi.
In Nigeria, Muslims have for many years faced brutal suppression at the hands of the military and police. Scores have been killed; many more have been injured and have suffered imprisonment and torture. The Nigerian military and regime’s acts of brutality are reflective of their subservience to the zionists and the Saudis. Mass rallies are also held across Europe and North America.
It would be wrong to assume that only Muslims participate in Quds Day rallies. This is neither confined to Muslims or Iranians, although it was Imam Khomeini of the Islamic Republic who issued the call in August 1979 to observe the last Friday of Ramadan as International Quds Day. Today, many non-Muslims, among them Christians and Jews—yes, that is correct, many Jewish people—also participate in Quds Day rallies and speak out against zionist atrocities.
They view Zionist crimes against innocent Palestinians as a violation of Jewish religious teachings. By their presence and support, they send a clear message that zionism does not represent Judaism. It is the fairness of the cause—liberation of al-Quds and Palestine—that attracts so many non-Muslims as well.
The suffering of the Palestinians—women, children and youth—and the indescribable cruelty of the heavily-armed zionists, whether soldiers or settlers (read that as illegal squatters) against the Palestinians have aroused the concern of many people of conscience. This message has to spread more widely.
True, Muslims, Christians and Jews who participate in such rallies, especially in non-Muslim countries like those in Europe and North America, will face the wrath of the regimes there. Even without the Quds Day rallies, Muslims face immense persecution and oppression. Islamophobia is running rampant in Europe and North America. Their claims to freedom and free expression are a fraud. The Quds Day rallies are a great opportunity to expose their fraudulent claims to freedom even if there is the ever-present danger of oppression and persecution.
This is a price worth paying because silence in the face of injustice is not an option. Standing up for truth and speaking out against injustice are fundamental obligations of all Muslims.