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Hands Off Al Aqsa, chant protesters

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“Hands off Al Aqsa” – this was the loud and simple call at a protest march in Cape Town on Wednesday in response to continuous attacks on Masjidul Asqa in the occupied territories of Palestine in East Jerusalem. In support of a the Hands Off Al Aqsa campaign on social media, supporters marched from Keizergracht to Parliament through the city bowl calling for an end to the recent attacks on Islam’s third sacred mosque. Chairperson of the Al Quds Foundation, Sheikh Isgaak Taliep read out the memorandum, calling on government to condemn Apartheid Israel. While the memorandum was not accepted by a Parliamentary official, Taliep ensure that he would be following the necessary process to get the document to the relevant officials for immediate consideration.

“The Al Quds Foundation and the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) condemns in the strongest sense, the forced closure of the Al Aqsa Mosque on the 30th October 2014. We are appalled at the total and continuous disregard shown by the Israeli Occupation forces for the sanctity of the Al Aqsa mosque compound….the total lack of respect for the worshippers and continuous religious intolerance that they display. This move is to take total control of the compound,” Taliep told the crowd.

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The crowd of protesters chanted through the streets of Cape Town as news came through that Israeli police had again closed access to the Al-Aqsa mosque to Palestinian worshipers as clashes continued in the heart of the city.

Members of the Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP) said they were outraged by the level of aggression displayed by Jewish settlers, and called for the end of the Zionist regime. JVJP’s Jonathan Shapiro said the group of “South African Jews of conscience” dared to speak out against the violence carried out by perpetrators in the name of religion against the Palestinian people.

“More Jews are coming out to speak up against this. As SA Jews, we call for an end to the occupation and for a new society to be built in Palestine. One of equality and respect for all who live there. We call for completely unrestricted access to the holy Mosque and all holy sites,” Shapiro said as the crowd cheered him on.

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Al-Aqsa, also known as the Temple Mount to Jews, is Islam’s third most-venerated site. Muslims have on a daily basis been prohibited to enter the holy site to perform their obligatory prayers.

Muslim Judicial Council secretary general Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie put emphasis on the importance of unity, regardless of ones religious belief as Israel’s restrictions on Masjidul Aqsa affects all – Muslims, Jewish and Christian believers. Allie made reference to a local church just opposite Parliament where he spoke of the same scenario such as the one currently transpiring at Masjidul Aqsa to the church in Cape Town. Drawing the same conclusion in both respects; Allie said the imposed restriction by Israel on the mosque compound is in direct violation of a basic human right, adding that it can not be tolerated by the international community. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)

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