Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in Jerusalem, is a significant Mosque in Islam. It was built on top of the Temple Mount. Al – Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. Islam believed that Prophet Muhammed (SAW) made a night Journey called Al-Isra from Al–Aqsa Mosque. It also was the first Qibla before Ka’bah.
The attack on Al–Aqsa Mosque happened on Friday during one of the blessed days of Ramadan. The time fled by, but it still haunts many people. The hatred was beyond what the eyes could witness. The hatred towards Muslims and nothing seems to have changed since the attack. People are still living in fear, being tortured, and killed. This is why we shouldn’t forget the very incident that shook the hearts of Muslims around the world.
Let’s Reminiscence the Reason for the Attack
The Al–Aqsa Mosque was attacked following the course of events that took place in Sheikh Jarrah. On that Friday, thousands of Muslims from Palestine gathered at Al–Aqsa Mosque to offer prayers. However, after the prayers, the worshippers started protesting in favor of the people of Sheikh Jarrah, to which the Israeli Police reacted so violently. Many have been protesting ever since the people of Sheikh Jarrah were forced to leave their homes following an Israeli Court Order. The worshippers in the Al–Aqsa Mosque were attacked so brutally, injuring more than 200 hundred people.
People all over the world condemned the attack on Al–Aqsa Mosque. This is how the world showed their concern.
The United Nations
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, expressed deep concern about the recent events in Jerusalem.
On 9th May 2021, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Stéphane Dujarric, stated on the Official web page of the United Nations:
“The Secretary-General expresses his deep concern over the continuing violence in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the possible evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods. He urges Israel to cease demolitions and evictions in line with its international humanitarian and international human rights law obligations.
Israeli authorities must exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and speak out against all acts of violence and incitement. The Secretary-General urges that the status quo at the holy sites be upheld and respected.
The Secretary-General reiterates his commitment, including through the Middle East Quartet, to support Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict based on relevant United Nations resolutions, international law, and bilateral agreements.”
UN Spokesperson through Twitter on the 10th May 2021 –
Secretary-General @antonioguterres expresses his deep concern over continuing violence in occupied East Jerusalem. He urges Israel to cease demolitions & evictions, in line with its international humanitarian and human rights law obligations.
Turkey condemned the attack on Al – Aqsa Mosque.
The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan n the 8th of May 2021
“We strongly condemn Israel’s heinous attacks against our first qibla #AlAqsaMosque that are unfortunately being carried out every Ramadan. As Turkey, we will continue to stand by our Palestinian brothers and sisters in all circumstances.”
The First Lady Of Turkey Emine Erdoğan on Twitter (8th May 2021) :
“I strongly condemn Israel’s attack on Masjid al-Aqsa, our first qibla. Disrespect to the temple of Muslims is never acceptable. We are always with you, our Palestinian brothers and sisters. I wish immediate healing to the injured.”
Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin showed concern through Twitter on 8th May 2021
“Shame on Israel and those who keep silent in the face of disgraceful attacks on Masjid al-Aqsa in this holy month of fasting. Palestine and the Palestinians are not alone. We call on everyone to stand up against the policies of occupation and aggression of this apartheid state.”
The Foreign Ministry of Oman stated :
“The Foreign Ministry expresses the condemnation of the Sultanate of Oman at the Israeli forces storming the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque and rejects the policies and procedures leading to the displacement of the brotherly Palestinian people from their homes in the city of Jerusalem.”
“Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s plans and measures to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem and impose Israeli sovereignty over them, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia condemns any unilateral measures, violations of international resolutions, and all actions that undermine the resumption of the peace process aimed at achieving security and stability in the region, the statement said.”
UAE condemned the clashes in a statement by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
“H.E. Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, Minister of State, expressed the UAE’s deep concern over the violence in occupied East Jerusalem and its strong condemnation of the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the displacement of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which resulted in the injury of many civilians.
His Excellency stressed that the UAE strongly condemns the Israeli authorities’ storming of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, emphasizing the need for the Israeli authorities to assume their responsibilities – in accordance with the rules of international law – to protect Palestinian civilians’ right to practice their religion and to prevent practices that violate the sanctity of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Moreover, His Excellency stressed the need to respect the role of the brotherly Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in protecting holy places under international law and the historical status quo and not to compromise the authority and powers of the Jerusalem Endowment Department.
His Excellency called on the Israeli authorities to take responsibility for de-escalation, to end all attacks and practices that lead to continued tension, and to preserve the historical identity of occupied Jerusalem, while exercising calm and maximum restraint to prevent an escalation of threats to regional peace and stability.”
On 8th May 2021
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses the Kingdom of Bahrain’s strong condemnation of the attack of Israeli forces on Muslim worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, calling the Israeli government to stop these rejected provocations against the people of Jerusalem and work to prevent its forces from attacking worshipers in this holy month.
The Ministry also condemns the Israeli plan to evict the citizens of Jerusalem from their homes and impose Israeli sovereignty over them, as it violates the resolutions of international legitimacy and undermines the chances of resuming the peace process to achieve security and stability in the region.”
But has anything changed after these statements? Has the violence reduced? Have they stopped bombing the innocents? Well, one of the latest pieces of violence I saw today morning was this, and I’m shaking.
اَللّٰهُمَ اٰمِنَّا فِي أَوْطَانِنَا، وَأَدِمْ نِعْمَةَ الأَمْنِ وَالاسْتِقْرِارِ فِي بِلادِنَا بِرَحْمَتِكَ يَا أرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ
Allahumma aminna fi awtanina, wa adim ni’matal-amni wal-istiqrari fi biladina bi rahmatika ya arhamar-rahimeen.
O ALLAH! Grant us security in our lands, and continue to bless us with peace and settlement there. With Your Mercy, O Most Merciful!
DUA FOR THE WORLD PEACE AND BLESSINGS
How Practical is the Secular Democracy of India? Curbing of Religious Freedom in Kashmir
Even while a right-wing Hindu nationalist government is ruling India for the past 8 years now, India still professes to be a secular democracy. The constitutional grounds for India’s secularism have been carefully accommodating religious freedom. However, the past 8 years have been witnessing a shrinking of sorts for the religious freedom of Muslims. The Indian government seems to be particularly adamant about curbing the religious freedom of Kashmiri Muslims.
In 2022, the Indian authorities arrested prominent religious clerics across Kashmir under PSA (Public Safety Act). After that, the Indian government banned schools run by FAT (Falah-e-Aam Trust ). FAT is an affiliate of the banned Islamist organization Jama’at-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir (Jama’at). Another incident followed with the circulation of a video of Kashmiri students. The video showed students being forced to chant Hindu hymns sparked controversy over social media. However, these are not isolated incidents that reveal the curbing of religious freedom in Kashmir.
Curbing Religious Freedom in Muharram
Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar is one of the holiest months for Shite Muslims worldwide. During this month, Shia mourners gather together to hold a procession. They recite eulogies, and chant slogans to mourn the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson Hussain.
However, since 1989, the Indian government has prohibited some of the major Muharram processions in Kashmir. The government issues an order each year prohibiting Muharram processions due to “security reasons”. Kashmiris claim that the Indian state has been curbing their religious rights on the pretext of “security concerns”. Kashmiri Muslims have a history of raising their voices against the curbing of their religious rights by the Indian government. Nonetheless, this history of resistance against religious inequality has always been violent for the Kashmiris. Every year, Shia mourners face police thrashings, beatings, and arrests while trying to take out Muharram processions.
Since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, the police arrested 15 Shia mourners. They also arrested a well-known preacher named Manzoor Ahmed Malik. The police charged them under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). According to the police, they allegedly chanted free Kashmir Slogans during Muharram processions.
While talking to the Wire, Arshid Ahmad, a Shia mourner told The Wire “In contemporary times, the ‘step-motherly’ treatment of Muslims is unacceptable and the government should reconsider the decision on Muharram bans. This minority bears the brunt of the repression, even though other religious pilgrimages are permitted with full security and pomp,”.
“We are protesting and condemning this ban but no one is listening to us. If the government can allow other religions to perform their religious rites, why ban the Muharram procession?” Muzzafar, another mourner asked.
Most mourners who talked with the media brought up the Amarnath Yatra, a 40-day pilgrimage. They questioned why the government couldn’t guarantee protection for the Muharram parade for one day.
Janmashtami Procession held by Kashmiri Pandits Amid Police and Army Security
Days after Muharram, Kashmiri pandits staged processions throughout Srinagar to celebrate the birth of the Hindu god Krishna. The government allowed Hindu devotees to take out the religious procession and provided them with tight police and army security.
Amid massive spectacle and show, the government supervised and safeguarded the religious procession. National news outlets in India were hailing this incident as “signifying a perceptible improvement in the situation in the strife-ridden Valley”. However, none of the Indian media called out the hypocrisy of the Indian government that has been curbing the religious freedom in Kashmir for Muslims for decades.
Read here, Kashmiri Pandits Face Targeted Killings
The Grand Mosque in Kashmir Closed For Friday Prayers For Three Years
The Jamia Masjid or the grand mosque in the heart of Srinagar city is a 600-year-old that has been cherished and venerated by Kashmiris for centuries and is of historic and religious significance. On important religious occasions throughout the year, thousands of Muslim worshippers have been visiting the grand mosque. Friday is considered the holy day of the week for Muslims and congregational prayers are of utmost importance. Yet, Kashmiris haven’t been allowed to offer prayers in Jamia Masjid for three consecutive years now.
Additionally, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Hurriyat leader, and the mosque’s chief preacher has been kept under constant house arrest and is not permitted to give Friday sermons. Recently, the Lieutenant Governor of Kashmir Manoj Sinha disputed reports of Mirwaiz being under house arrest, yet a few days later, the Hurriyat leader was denied permission to deliver the Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid. In attempts to deny the claim of “prolonged closure, of the Jamia Masjid” the LG declared that it had only been in effect on three Fridays this year. However, the mosque’s administration made it explicit that this year, prayers have been prohibited for 14 Fridays so far by the enforced presence of the CRPF and J&K Police.
To Kashmiris, the prolonged closure of the Jamia masjid serves as a bitter reminder of their helplessness. And the attempts of psychological warfare. This is yet another incident that speaks of the curbing of religious freedom in Kashmir.
Read more here, India Bans Falah-e-Aam Trust (FAT) schools in Kashmir
Religious Freedom Vanishing From The Largest Democracy In The World
India prides itself internationally as the world’s largest democracy. According to the Indian constitution, the government “will not discriminate, patronize, or meddle in the exercise of any religion.” Its constitution guarantees religious freedom, which entails that individuals should be able to adhere to and freely practice their religious views. However, the religious freedom and claims of secularism mentioned in the Indian Constitution are utterly absent when it comes to Muslims and particularly when it comes to Kashmir.
Read here, The Case Of The Gyanvapi Mosque Explained
Christians must not dance with Israeli apartheid under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism
It has been revealed that major Christian Churches in the UK succeeded in forcing former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, to reconsider earlier thoughts of moving the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
According to news reports, the Church of England, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church strongly urged Truss to reconsider her ideas in this regard.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, reportedly sent a letter to Truss warning her against moving the British Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which, according to international law, is considered an occupied territory.
Cardinal Nichols probably reflected the views of his fellow clerics when he warned that the relocation of the embassy would seriously damage British interests throughout the Muslim world: “A relocation of the UK Embassy would be seriously damaging to any possibility of lasting peace in the region and to the international reputation of the United Kingdom.”
Moreover, the chief cleric in the Church of England, Justine Welby, expressed a similar attitude in a newspaper interview.
Predictably, Israeli leaders reacted furiously, accusing Christian leaders of ignorance and adopting an immoral stance toward the apartheid Israeli entity.
Furthermore, one right-wing Israeli writer lambasted the three Churches which objected to the idea of relocating the British embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, claiming that the churches didn’t represent Christians around the world. He hinted that a Christian cannot be a true Christian unless he or she embraces the Israeli apartheid regime in the West Bank where non-Jews, e.g. Christians and Muslims, are treated as children of a lesser God, or using the biblical terms, as water-carriers and wood-hewers!
Interestingly, most extremist Israeli leaders subscribe to the silly concept that the only authentic Christians are the evangelical groups, or the so-called Christian Zionists, who believe that the creation of Israel in Palestine in 1948 was a fulfilment of Biblical Prophecy and a precedent to the second advent of Jesus.
“The Hitler of Bethlehem”
By the way, it might be appropriate to remind readers on this occasion that the Israeli government which claims to tend to and protect Christian interests in Palestine is the very same government that pays hundreds of millions of Shekels to vehemently anti-Christian Talmudic colleges (Yishivot) that teach the filthiest possible hate literature, like Hesronot Shas, against Jesus Christ. I am not going to mention passages from this filth out of veneration for Jesus himself and as a gesture of respect for Christian brothers and sisters around to world. My ultimate goal behind these stunning revelations is not to incite Christians to hate Jews. In the final analysis, truth, not hate is my craft.
Before leaving this thread, I want to remind readers of an incident that occurred several years ago. Then I met an ostensibly moderate and respectable rabbi. And as we were speaking about monotheistic religions and the common grounds between them, the rabbi surprised me when he referred to Jesus, a figure I love so much as every other Muslim does, as “The Hitler of Bethlehem.” The repulsive remark shocked me from head to toe, to say he very least.
Noticing my reaction, the rabbi said: I know that you Muslims venerate and sanctify Jesus, I am sorry if I have inadvertently caused you any offense.”
Venomous anti-Christian Hostility
None the less, not all rabbis, especially in the West, are as honest as my interlocutor mentioned above. In fact, Zionist rabbis and other manifestly dishonest propagandists hysterically strive to distract attention from this colossal shame.
Hence, they concoct all sorts of lies and disinformation about an alleged persecution in the Holy Land of Christians by Muslims and even by the unreligious Palestinian Authority (PA), which is absolutely and completely at Israel’s beck and call.
The truth of the matter is that the apartheid Israeli entity and Talmudic Jewish circles (the Pharisees of our time) are the only sources of harassment and persecution of al Palestinians, Christians and Muslims alike.
This unceasing persecution assumes many forms, including:1- Seizing land and real estate belonging to the churches, either by coercion or through suspicious purchase deals.
2-Routinly harassing Christian clergymen in the streets of East Jerusalem by spitting on them, verbally abusing them or even bad-mouthing Jesus.
3-Denying Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip access to Christian Holy places in the West Bank such as The Nativity Church in Bethlehem and the church of Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
4-Occasionally vandalizing and setting churches on fire by anti-Christian Talmudic fanatics who often act on instructions from their government-paid rabbis.
5-Constantly seeking to stir Muslim-Christian tension, using Shen Bet agents to carry out this filthy feat. Fortunately, 99% of these toxic efforts have utterly failed, due to the exemplary vigilance of the Palestinian community.
An Australian Blow
A few days before the resignation of Liz Truss, the Australian government decided to reconsider its erstwhile decision to relocate Australia’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The decision was warmly welcomed by the Palestinians and the PA, which described it as consistent with the rule of international law. However, the Australian decision drew much anger and consternation from the Israeli government and jingoistic media, with former Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu blaming current Prime Minister Yair Lapid for the reversal of Australian policy.
None the less, Christians are expected to show some justice toward the tormented Palestinians.
We all know that thanks to the grossly unethical and illegal western policy toward the Palestinian question, Israel has been given a carte blanch to murder, torment, savage and dispossess the Palestinian people. This utterly unfair and unjust policy by western governments, particularly the U.S. and UK, effectively condemned the Palestinian people to an unenviable situation that is similar to those proverbial orphan kids, sitting for dinner around the table of the cruel and the mean.
Hence, the gesture of the three churches in England is highly appreciated. We also sincerely hope that Church leaders will continue to raise their influential voices in defence of the virtually abandoned Palestinians. This would be consistent with the lofty Christian ideals of siding with the oppressed.
Muslim Women’s Empowerment and Inheritance Rights
Despite Islam giving Muslim women the right to inheritance, it is rare to see Muslims follow this Islamic law. The recently released National Family Health Survey 2019-20 (NFHS-5) fact sheet for Jammu and Kashmir states that only 57.3% of women in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir own a house and/or land, alone or jointly (PDF of the survey). J and K is a Muslim-majority region. According to 2011 census, 68.3% of the region’s population is Muslim.
Even though we can read these figures as “at least more than half women own property”, however, given that all women are coparceners in one or the other way, it raises vexing questions.
Islam entitles a sister to inherit half of what a brother gets as a coparcener. Despite this fact, the number of women owning property is almost half of that of men.
The data on women’s inheritance in Pakistan and other Muslim-majority South Asian countries is much worse. There are very few women who own property in South Asian countries.
Inheritance Rights, a Taboo?
Women asking for their coparcenary rights is considered taboo here. Further, women also seem to have internalized that asking for inheritance rights will break their relationship with other members of the family, especially brothers. As a result, they sign relinquishment deeds without giving a second thought about it.
Women’s Empowerment through Inheritance
People mostly see the inheritance of property as a matter of money and wealth. However, it goes beyond that, at least for women. Economically speaking, ownership of any kind of property by women is a very important determinant in the quest for women’s empowerment.
In a realist world where everyone is responsible for their own survival, women should not expect their male relatives to care for them. Unless women do not attach economical value to their lives, they will have no power. This is especially true for unemployed women who do not have financial independence. Since inheritance of property is a given- however small value it may have, they do not have to get an education or work to get it. The only thing they need to do is not to sign the relinquishment deed.
Also Read: Why Are Muslim Women Still Behind Bars
Militating Against Women’s Empowerment
Relinquishment of coparcenary rights militates against women’s empowerment. It is high time that women ask for the inheritance rights that the constitution as well as the religion gives them. The right to inheritance also seems one of its kind means to women’s empowerment where people peddling religiosity may not find a reason to oppose it. Women should know that signing a relinquishment deed may lose them a lifetime opportunity for leading an independent and respectful life in this patriarchal world.
Also Read: The women behind #Blacklivesmatter movement
The Debate on Equality of Rights
It is generally accepted that Islam entitles a sister to inherit half of what a brother gets as a coparcener. However, the interpretation of the Quran regarding this law is debatable. According to Mohmmad Iqbal, “the share of the daughter is determined not by any inferiority inherent in her, but in view of her economic opportunities, and the place she occupies in the social structure of which she is a part and parcel.” Iqbal goes on to justify the case of inheritance law in Islam arguing that the daughter “is held to be the full owner of the property given to her by both the father and the husband at the time of her marriage.” Further, “she absolutely owns her dower-money which may be prompt or deferred according to her own choice, and in lieu of which she can hold possession of the whole of her husband’s property till payment, the responsibility of maintaining her throughout her life is wholly thrown on the husband.”
Therefore, for Iqbal, if we “judge the working of the rule of inheritance from this point of view, you (we) will find that there is no material difference between the economic position of sons and daughters.”
However, Iqbal made this point in 1930. Since then, there has been a significant change in the economic positions of men and women. If the motive behind inheritance laws, as mentioned by Iqbal, is applied to modern-day conditions, sons and daughters may well get an equal share in inheritance.
Towards Muslim Women’s Empowerment
Inheritance rights bestowed by Islam on Muslim women show Islam’s inherent quest for women’s empowerment.
Even though the West blames Muslims for repressing women’s rights, Islam has its in-built laws for women’s empowerment. These laws, unlike West’s feminist rhetoric, go beyond symbolic empowerment like sartorial choice, and hence materially empower women.
However, it is a shame that Muslims do not follow Islamic laws like inheritance law in letter and spirit. If all Muslims obeyed these laws, the world would become a better place for Muslim women.
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