Pro-Palestine supporters belted out their outrage while taking to the streets of Cape Town on Wednesday against the atrocities unfolding Masjidul Asqa in Jerusalem. In a demonstration led by the Muslim Judicial Council and the Al Quds Foundation, and supported by the Jewish Voice for a Just Peace, locals vocalised their opposition to the restrictions on Palestinians who have been prohibited from entering the holy site.
“People can’t go into Al Asqa. A lot of people want to go for umrah and want to go to Al Asqa but they can’t go into the mosque. It is very heart sore for us,” said a tearful Jurayda Jaffer.
The aim of the march was to create awareness of the occupation of Al Aqsa by Israeli Zionist forced and extreme Jewish settlers. People made it clear with the demonstration that they were aware of their rights to access the mosque compound. Al Asqa is a holy site and their right to carry out their religious obligation was being violated by prohibiting them from entering the mosque to make salah.
“It is a human right given to us by Allah (swt)…a right given by the United Nations, given by the Bill of Rights that we have the right to religious institutions and as an occupier, Israel does not have the right to deny people to go to their religious places, for their religious places to be bombed,” said Imtiyaaz Henkerman.
Many demonstrators believed Palestinians should remain fearless in their defence of Al-Aqsa, as Israeli authorities were slowly desecrating the holy site.
“Last year we were there. We made salah there. Now where must we go?” asked Aisha Behardien.
Supporters urgd that peace can only be restored if the area is reopened and people are allowed to enter the mosque.
“For the sake of peace it should be reopened,” pleaded Henkerman.
“This mosque is the third holiest site for Muslims in the world hence any threats or sanctions placed on it is a call for war,” he added.
Supporters are up in arms as the site forms part of Islamic heritage having been a holy sanctuary for the Muslim prophets.
“It is a terrible thing. One of the worse things that can happen as that is part of our heritage where many things happened with the Nabis,” says Jaffer.
Other protesters asked why the Muslim world had fallen silent on the issue.
“People not only in South Africa but all over the world… they do not want what is happening in Al Aqsa to be known by the public,” says Saraah Barak.
They hope the march will assist people in not shunning away from assisting in the emancipation of Palestinians and opening Masjid Al Asqa to the Muslim community.
“From this march I hope people will recognise that what is happening in Palensitine needs to be stopped and have people not turning their back because it is a terrible thing happening at Al Asqa,” added Barak. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)