South African activists reflect on parallels between life under apartheid and Israe/Palestine today.
Johannesburg, MINA – South African Muslim leaders and civil rights groups have condemned Israeli’s restricting access to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.
Moulana Ebrahim Bham, secretary-general of the Council of Muslim theologians (Jamiatul Ulama) told Anadolu Agency Thursday said the restrictions were a collective punishment on Palestinian people and a blatant disregard for internationally recognized conventions.
‘‘We have appealed to Imams across the country to concentrate their sermons this Friday on what is happening in Al-Aqsa and rally solidarity for fellow Muslims there,’’ Shakir Baker, operations manager of the Al-Quds Foundation, told Anadolu Agency.
Baker, whose organization works to safeguard the city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) by preserving its Arab identity and sacred Islamic and Christian sites, said: “We have called on Muslims worldwide to fast every Thursday until Al-Aqsa is liberated.”
Israeli authorities closed down the Al-Aqsa compound and canceled weekly Friday prayers for the first time in nearly five decades, following a shootout last week that left three Palestinians and two Israeli policemen dead near the flashpoint holy site in East Jerusalem.
On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers wounded nine Palestinians and arrested four others during protests against the closure.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming all of Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s “eternal” capital — a move never recognized by the international community.
Sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Jerusalem is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world’s third-holiest site, after the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)