The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) president Maulana Ighsaan Hendricks has made an impassioned appeal on South African Muslims to remain firm in their resolve in the Palestinian struggle. Hendricks was commenting on a deadly offensive by Israel, which has resulted in 160 airstrikes overnight, killing more than 45 Palestinians, and wounding over 300.
The offensive, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, is in retaliation to four rockets launched into Israel, purportedly by the military wing of Hamas. The attacks are a result of weeks of escalating tensions between the two sides, following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers and subsequent revenge killing of a Palestinian youth.
There has been a global outrage against the attacks, particularly on social media, where there has been a barrage of graphic images, depicting the blooded, lifeless bodies of young children. For the past three days, #gazaunderattack has been trending on Twitter, as activists around the world keep the developments on the news agenda.
On VOC on Wednesday, Hendricks expressed shock at the situation in Palestine and described it as a difficult phase for those who were in solidarity with the Palestinian people. However, he urged the community not to become despondent about the current situation, rather using the time to salute the Palestinians for their continued resistance against oppression.
“This is exactly the type of situation that the people in South Africa experienced, and we are firm that the Palestinian people will have their freedom, and they will have their liberation very soon inshallah,” he said.
Hendricks said the root of the issue was the Israeli occupation, calling it an absolute crime against humanity. He said it was difficult to hear in South Africa, despite having lived under the oppression of Apartheid that many people were still in the dark about the Palestinian situation.
He added it was vital to mobilise the larger section of South African society, in order for the country to take the lead in the condemnation of Israel’s actions.
“There is various expertise in the Muslim community. Those people who are good analysts in media must come to the front, and must speak out. People who can write articles to the newspapers, please I think we are moving a bit to slow,” he pleaded.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Vawda of the Media Review Network (MRN) accused Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of playing the so-called victim of Hamas attacks, and using that as a motive for an invasion of the Gaza Strip.
“This is nothing new. You look at the history of the Israeli/Zionist government, and this is how they play the game. They will say one thing today, and the complete opposite the next,” he said.
With Israel having mobilised nearly 40 000 reserve troops for the current operation, Vawda was resigned to the fact that there would likely be an invasion of Gaza. He suggested the Israelis would continue with what he called an ‘ethnic cleansing’ and genocide of the Palestinian people, until they were in possession of the land. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)