A South African man is being deported after he was detained by Israeli police in Masjid Al Aqsa compound on Tuesday night. Aadil Asmal from Azaadville is part of a South African delegation performing itikaaf. He was arrested upon suspicion of throwing stones at Israeli police. Ayoob Dadabhay, a Capetonian who is also sitting for itikaaf at Masjidul Aqsa, said Asmal is now on the way back to South Africa.
“They kept him overnight and he was released this morning. But he has been barred from coming to Al Aqsa for eight years,” he told VOC News.
A DIRCO official confirmed that Asmal was released after a short period of detention, but said there was no further information available.
The arrest follows violence at the mosque compound on Monday when Israeli soldiers stormed the haram. Dozens of Palestinian worshipers and workers were assaulted by Israeli forces with rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and beaten with batons. Some Palestinian responded by throwing stones at soldiers.
Dadabhay believed Asmal was wearing a scarf similar to the suspect and it was a case of mistaken identity. According to Dadabhay, the young man was treated harshly by Israeli officials while in custody.
“They didn’t want to listen to anything he had to say. They showed him videos and he explained that the suspect in the videos was taller than him and the clothing was not the same. We believe they picked him up as he was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
Despite this incident, the other South Africans in Al Aqsa are doing well.
In response to the recent tensions at Al Aqsa, Maulana Igsaan Hendricks, the director of the Al Quds Foundation, has implored the international Muslim community too see the sporadic attack on Masjidul Aqsa as an onslaught against the entire Muslim community and not only on the holy site
In a statement, Hendricks said the violence should be seen from a number of angles. He has raised concern that these attacks are taking place in the last 10 days of the blessed month of Ramadan, a sacred period not only for the Muslim community in Palestine and Al Quds, but also for the international community.
“It is thus important for our people to move out of their comfort zones and to not merely look at it as a territorial problem of the Palestinian people or the Arab people, but that we take collective responsibility as the entire Ummah for the fact that Al Masjidul Aqsa continues to be under occupation since 1967 up till this hour and time,” he said.
Hendricks said despite the fact that it is the auspicious last 10 nights of Ramadan, there was in place a principled agreement that under the occupation particularly the Jewish settlers will not be allowed inside the compound of Al Masjidul Aqsa.
“Not that any other time in actual fact is ok for them to enter and violate and desecrate al Masjidul Aqsa al Mubarak, but specifically in this period, it was agreed that they would refrain from doing so. However on Monday morning those settlers who entered the compound of Al Masjidul Aqsa did so under the protection of the occupation police and under the protection of the occupation army desecrating the compound of Al Masjidul Aqsa, attacking the Musallis of Al Masjidul Aqsa and attacking the people who came to spend I’tikaaf inside al Masjidul Aqsa al Mubarak.”
“It is important that the International Muslim community must maximise not only the condemnation of what happened this morning but equally continue to mobilise against the occupation of Al Masjidul Aqsa al Mubarak, Al Quds and of cause the broader Palestinian question. There is a number of areas that needs to be focused on very strategically.”
Hendricks pointed out that the Zionist authorities are taking advantage of the imprisonment of Sheikh Raid Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement of 1948 who has vociferously called for end to the occupation of Al Aqsa. The Israeli regime plans to fragment and create confusion in the ranks of leadership of the Islamic Movement.
“In fact the Zionist occupation have shown their complete support for a wing of the Islamic Movement, known as the Islamic Movement of the South under the leadership of Ibrahim Sarsur who is a representative in the Knesset and of cause they regard him to be the very peaceful leader of the Palestinian community of 1948. These are the types of political games that the occupation, particularly Benjamin Netunyahu has been playing in the last few days.” VOC