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Ulema calls for mass march for al-Aqsa

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Tensions are at an all time high in the city of Jerusalem, following attempts from yet another Israeli far-right lawmaker to enter the historic compound of Masjid al-Aqsa. The continued desecration of the Islamic religious site has left Muslims around the world outraged, and has resulted in the launch of a new campaign titled #Hands off Al Aqsa. Ulema on a local front have also joined in on the campaign; calling for a mass protest through the streets of Cape Town on Wednesday morning.

Al-Aqsa has been the scene of violent clashes between Israeli forces and resisting Palestinians in recent months, stemming from the entering of the mosque by members of a right-wing Jewish group in early October. Since then, several Israeli Knesset members have also attempted to gain access to the iconic site, despite facing stern resistance from Palestinian worshippers.

For the president of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) and al-Quds Foundation SA, Maulana Ighsaan Hendricks, such attempts were proof that the desecration of the holy site was now being fully endorsed by the Israeli state.

“It is momentous for them, when we begin to see the lawmakers also entering the compound of Masjid al-Aqsa,” he said.

This, according to him, was consistent with the Jewish state’s long term goal of trying to occupy and establish their own rituals within the mosque. Despite this, there have also been several members of the Israeli Knesset who have spoken out against the wave of politicians visiting the mosque, describing it as nothing more than attempts to stir up violence.

Hendrick was also critical of suggestions by some pro-Israeli groups, that the Palestinians show more tolerance towards Jews seeking to pray in the mosque.

“The occupier should not ask the occupied, the tyrant should not ask the victim to be tolerant and patient. It is the natural law of life that the victim has a right to resist, and that is exactly what the Palestinian people are showing the international community,” he said.

In light of the recent attacks on al-Aqsa, the MJC and al-Quds Foundation have called for another mass march to protest the Israeli occupation. Hendricks said the march was vital for South Africans, to allow then to show support for the Palestinian cause.

“It is our obligation as the Muslim community, because we regard the whole question of al-Aqsa as an integral part of our doctrine of belief,” he said.

He added that Wednesday’s march would send a strong message “for those in the frontline of the defense of al-Aqsa”, that they had the support of the South African Muslim community.

The mass march is set to take place on Wednesday the 5th November, from 11am onwards. The march will start at Keizersgracht, before proceeding towards parliament. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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