by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 42, No. 5, Sha'ban, 1434)
With so much mayhem in the Muslim world, it is important that we do not lose sight of the continued Zionist occupation of al-Quds (Jerusalem). The last Friday of Ramadan has been designated as the Day of Quds and Muslims would do well to remember it and join it.
Every year on the last Jumu‘ah of Ramadan, Muslims around the world participate in Quds Day rallies. The purpose is to draw attention to the continued occupation by the Zionists of the first qiblah and the third holiest site in Islam. In 1980, Imam Khomeini proclaimed the last Jumu‘ah of Ramadan as the Day of Quds so that Muslims do not forget their obligation toward the liberation of this holy city.
Quds Day rallies are now held in many cities around the world. Increasing numbers of Muslims in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa also participate in such rallies drawing attention to the continued occupation of al-Quds (Jerusalem) as well as express support for the suffering Palestinian people. Since the implantation of the Zionist entity in Palestine in 1948, Palestinians have suffered grievously. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians — Muslims and Christians — were driven from their homes in a campaign of terror perpetrated by the Zionists. Palestinian villages and towns were wiped out or taken over by the Zionists who flooded into Palestine from Europe and Russia. In the first flush, half of Jerusalem was also occupied. The other half remained under Jordanian control, an artificial entity carved out of Palestine by the British. It was handed over to ‘Abdullah, one of the sons of Sharif Husain in order to placate him. The British had reneged on their pledge to make Sharif Husain the king of all Arabians in return for his betrayal of the Ottoman Turks who were then in control of the Muslim East, including Palestine. The Zionists occupied the rest of Jerusalem in the June 1967 war when Jordanian forces fled without firing a single shot.
The British had simultaneously promised to create a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine as per the Balfour Declaration of November 1917. The British had of course no intention of honoring their pledge to the Arabs. Their promise to the Jewish people, extracted by Lord Rothschild from Balfour, then British foreign secretary, served both sides well. At a stroke the Zionists got the promise of a homeland in Palestine while the British and indeed the larger European community got rid of their “Jewish problem.” Anti-Semitism has been a defining feature of European life for centuries. The Europeans were not so much concerned about expiating for their sins against the Jews; their primary purpose was the expansion of colonialism into the Muslim East. Zionist Israel today serves as a colonialist bridgehead in the region.
The ongoing injustices perpetrated against the Palestinian people have aroused the concern of many people worldwide. The issue of Palestine and al-Quds has also transcended the religious divide. Many non-Zionist Jews and Christians participate in Quds Day rallies, especially in North America, Europe and South Africa, seeing these as an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. It must be emphasized that Quds Day rallies are not against the Jewish people — their presence in such rallies is proof of this fact — but against the injustices being perpetrated by the Zionists. Further, Zionism is a political ideology that is based on racism. In fact, Zionists belong to all religions, even if nominally. There are Jewish Zionists, as there are Christian, Muslim and Hindu Zionists.
One final point concerns many Muslim regimes that hitherto had hidden behind the claim of representing Islamic values. They now stand exposed. The tribal regime in the Arabian Peninsula and its fellow tribal monarchies and puppet regimes in the Muslim East are the local sentries of imperialism and Zionism. These include Jordan, Qatar, Morocco, Egypt and Turkey. Their primary aim is to maintain their illegitimate hold on power, and abort Islamic self-determination.
Nothing exposes them more than the fact that while they have poured billions of dollars to support the mercenaries fighting the Asad government in Syria, they have not given a fraction of that amount to the Palestinians to confront the Zionist aggressors. Further, while thousands of mercenaries from these countries have flooded into Syria, one is at pains to ask how many have been sent to Occupied Palestine to help the oppressed Palestinians.
The battle lines are now clearly drawn. By their own actions, these munafiq regimes stand exposed. And like munafiqs everywhere, they will face humiliation in this world as well as in the hereafter. Meanwhile the committed Muslims must continue to struggle for truth, fairness, justice and peace in Palestine. The liberation of al-Quds is of primary importance in this struggle and Muslims everywhere must make the commitment to join it. The day is not far off when Zionist racists will be banished and people of all faiths — Muslims, Christians and Jews — will be able to live in peace and harmony in the holy land.