by Khadijah Ali (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 42, No. 7, Shawwal, 1434)
The annual Quds Day rallies have become a global phenomenon. In North America, Toronto holds by far the largest rally anywhere. At the same time, the rally has also attracted some unsavoury characters, like the Zionist thugs that want to disrupt it. They have failed and will continue to fail in the future as well, insha’Allah.
The annual Quds Day rallies have become a global phenomenon. Since the last Friday of Ramadan was first declared by Imam Khomeini in 1979 as the Day of Quds, millions of people — Muslims and non-Muslims — have participated in such rallies each year to draw attention to the continued occupation of Masjid al-Aqsa, the first qiblah of Muslims, as well as the oppression of Palestinian people.
While Muslims residing in Muslim majority states obviously hold huge rallies, those residing in the West are not far behind either. In North America, Toronto has had the singular distinction of holding the largest rally for many years. This year there were rallies in at least 16 cities across Canada and the US. Just as it has attracted increasing numbers of people — Muslims as well as non-Muslims including Christians and many people of the Jewish faith that are opposed to Zionism — to join, these rallies have also aroused the wrath of the Zionists and Israel-firsters.
The rally held at the beginning of last month was no exception. Unlike last year when the Zionists and the rightwing pro-Israel media made a lot of noise thereby unwittingly giving huge publicity to the rally, this year the Zionists worked behind the scenes. They were able to use their influence with politicians to pressure them to refuse permission for the rally to start from Queen’s Park, the Legislative Assembly building that had historically served as the starting point of the rally.
A great deal of hypocrisy was evident in the manner in which the Queen’s Park security people first gave the impression that the rally would proceed and then abruptly announced that the application will not be processed because of “public safety concerns.” When one of the rally organizers, Siraj Ali asked Mr. Rick Boon, Operations Manager/Inspector for Legislative Security Service to give his reasons in writing why the application was not being processed, this is what Mr. Boon said in response.
“We have provided you with our reasoning with respect to not moving forward with your application for use of the legislative grounds. Public safety is paramount when reviewing such applications and we are under no obligation to disclose the specific details that led to our decision; regardless of whether you or your group perceive any concerns.
“Public Safety takes in a number of considerations and circumstances including counter demonstrations, processes occurring in and around the building and availability of our resources as well as those of our partner agencies.”
For the record, in the past, rally organizers made sure that there were no incidents of any kind that would disturb public peace or safety. In fact, Muslims have been extra careful in ensuring that the grounds at Queen’s Park are respected and that no plant, tree or shrub is disturbed. This is documented and has been acknowledged by Queen’s Park staff as well. In his response, Mr. Boon of Queen’s Park security let the cat out of the bag when he admitted “that the message you bring to Queen’s Park is controversial and as such draws a significant counter protest. The hostility between the various groups leads to a corrosion in public safety when brought to the Legislative Assembly grounds.”
So in this great democracy called Canada, any message that is deemed “controversial” by some people is not permitted to be expressed. This is a great definition of free speech and how democracy functions. For the record, there were at least four rabbis attending the Quds rally in support of the Palestinian people. There were also a couple of dozen members of the Jewish Defence League (JDL), an outfit that has been declared a terrorist organization in the US but for some unknown reasons continues to operate freely in Canada, holding a counter-rally. Their racist chants were drowned out by the thousands of people that joined the Quds Day rally.
The Zionists were ecstatic that permission for the rally to be held on Queen’s Park grounds was denied. This is what Frank Dimant, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada said in a statement carried by the Canada Free Press, “We are very pleased that the Speaker has listened to public concerns,” by not proceeding with the Quds Day rally application. “By denying this permit, the Sergeant-at-Arms has signaled that the importation of radical ideologies from a country that our government has described as ‘the most significant threat to global peace and security’ will not be tolerated.” But Dimant lamented the fact that “despite the denial of the permit, there are still calls for protesters to attend and offers of bussing to the rally.”
Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) also applauded the decision of Sergeant-at-Arms of the Ontario Legislature. In a statement issued on August 1, Fogel of the pro-Israel outfit that came into existence only a few years ago, said, “We applaud the Sergeant-at-Arms for refusing to grant a permit to the organizers of al-Quds Day. We know that this decision was not taken lightly, but reflected serious deliberation and analysis of the video evidence CIJA captured in 2011. Just as we must preserve freedom of speech, we must ensure that Ontario’s Legislature — a symbol of our freedoms — is never exploited as a platform for an event that glorifies terrorism and promotes antisemitism.”
One can immediately see that “freedom of speech” is touted as a sacred cow only when the Zionists and other racists and bigots attack Muslims, Islam, the Qur’an or the noble Messenger of Allah (pbuh) but Muslims must not be allowed to express their opposition to Zionist crimes. These are branded as “anti-Semitism.” Perhaps, Dimant, Fogel and their ilk should explain how several rabbis and other Jewish speakers who were present did not see any evidence of anti-Semitism at the rally yet people not there levelled charges of anti-Semitism. This is the broad brush used against anyone critical of the Zionist racist entity.
Queen’s Park may have been turned into Zionist occupied territory but Canadians are still able to exercise their right of free speech despite the hateful propaganda of Zionists. Apologists for the Zionist regime, that has a gory sadistic record of mistreatment of innocent Palestinians, especially women and children, cannot stop the Quds Day rally. Despite their gloating that they were successful in preventing the rally for being held at Queen’s Park grounds — the organizers could have gone there but decided against such a move — the rally started from a park immediately north of Queen’s Park.
The attendance at the rally was just as huge as last year. In fact, the Zionists tried to disrupt the rally by spreading false news on the internet that the rally had been cancelled. This is how devious they are. Anyone who saw the rally — and there were thousands of people that witnessed it — would confirm that it was a very well organized and disciplined rally. Thousands of people including women and children were in attendance and rally marshals did an excellent job of protecting the attendees and making sure that no one from outside disrupted the rally.
Some Zionists lamented the fact that now children were also speaking at the rally. Two children in particular, Hussein Mojtahedy and Amina Ahmed, were very eloquent. They exposed Zionist crimes against innocent Palestinians brilliantly. Among those that addressed the rally in the park were Sid Lacombe of the Canadian Peace Alliance, Ken Stone, Jewish Canadian from Hamilton and Elias Hazineh, a political activist and former President of Palestine House.
When the rally set off from the park heading south, it stretched for more than a mile. It was an impressive display of solidarity among Muslims and non-Muslims with the oppressed Palestinians. The rally ended at the US Consulate, its usual destination where it ends. There, a number of other speakers addressed the gathering among them Ali Mallah, former vice president of the Canadian Arab Federation, Maulana Syed Jafri of Toronto, and Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, who also thanked all the participants as well as guests that joined the rally.
The mood at the rally was electric and people were ecstatic at such a huge turnout. Many participants came on specially chartered buses to attend the rally.
Toronto’s Quds Day rallies are growing. There was a time when only a small number of people attended. No more. While the numbers are growing, it is leading to hysteria among the Zionists because they see their narrative being increasingly challenged by articulate speakers that are shining the light on Zionist crimes against innocent Palestinians.
How long will the Zionists get away with their lies and false propaganda? No amount of blackmail of politicians can hide the fact that Zionism is a racist ideology and Israel a racist entity. This racist ideology is heading for the dustbin of history, sooner rather than later.
The Quds Day rallies will insha’allah, continue to grow and attract a wider audience as time goes by. Truth shall prevail and falsehood will perish.