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Occupation is a crime against humanity: Al Aqsa march

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Cape Town was brought to a halt at midday today as more than 4000 people demonstrated in the CBD against the illegal occupation of Masjidul Aqsa, Islam’s third most sacred site. Following an urgent call for action by the Muslim Judicial Council and the Al-Quds Foundation, Muslims across the city mobilised to voice their anger at the increased security measures around the Al Aqsa compound, which has resulted in violent skirmishes this past week.

At the traditional starting point at Keizegracht, many community organisations, activists, school children and community members donned their Palestinian keffiyahs, Palestinian flags and plackards in solidarity with the besieged Palestinians in east Jerusalem. The escalated tension over the past week has resulted in 3 Palestinians killed and hundreds injured in clashes with Zionist occupation forces who have attempted to control the movements of Jerusalemites near the contentious site.

At Parliament, members of the ulema condemned the continuous desecrations on the Al-Aqṣā mosque. Addressing the massive crowds on the street, the MJC said it was appalled at the “total and continuous disregard” shown by the Israeli occupation forces for the sanctity of the Al-Aqṣā mosque. This latest move by Zionist Occupation Forces to install metal detectors and CCTV cameras is a definitive move to “ultimately take total control” of the Al-Aqṣā mosque, said the body.

Swarms of supporters march in the CBD
[Photo: Shafiq Morton]
“We categorically state and reiterate that our fight is with Zionism and Zionist occupation and NOT with Jews or Judaism. The illegitimate Zionist Occupiers are intent to build their temple of Solomonon the ruins of the Al-Aqṣā sanctuary. We will NOT and CANNOT allow this to happen,” said the MJC and Al Quds foundation in a joint memorandum.

“There is absolutely NO doubt that occupation is a crime against humanity and this crime to divide the Al-Aqsa mosque started in 1967 already. This time, the Zionist forces found an excuse to close the precinct of Al-Aqṣā mosque for the first time in 48 years. We cannot, as Muslims, allow our religious freedoms to be curtailed in any way, shape or form,” said Shaykh Riad Fataar from the MJC.

Fervent protesters make their voices heard
[Photo: Shafiq Morton]
Shaykh Igsaan Taliep said South Africans should remember former struggle veteran and father of our nation, Nelson Mandela who famously said, “South Africa will NEVER be free until Palestine is Free”.

The memorandum calls upon the South African government, as one of the global champions of human rights, religious tolerance, mutual respect and equality for the following:
-Remove all CCTV cameras, bridges and other security apparatus in and around the AlAqṣā sanctuary that curtails the movement of Muslims into the holy mosque.
-Removal of x-ray devices that exposes the complete body of males and females.
-That respect is shown by the Israeli Regime to Christian and Muslim religious holy sites in Occupied Palestine.

Mandla Mandela addressing the crowd
[Photo; Shafiq Morton]
The organisations said it also acknowledged and applauded the ANC for their stance and call to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office in its bid to reduce diplomatic ties with Israel.

The memorandum further states that in the event that the Israeli government refuses to accede to these demands, the organisations demand the following from the South African government:
-Close the Israeli embassy in South Africa and expel the Israeli Ambassador from the country.
-Cut all diplomatic ties with the illegitimate State of Israel.
-We further call upon all religious organisations as well as all the religious and God-fearing people of this world who pride themselves on displaying and championing religious tolerance and mutual respect, to make their voices heard and condemn in the strongest terms these heinous actions and crimes of the Zionist occupation forces against the Palestinian people. Let us continuously and selflessly strive to assist the Palestinians in their quest for their human rights to be recognised and observed, as well as for the protection of all holy sites. VOC

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