As tens of thousands of Palestinians marked the first anniversary of the “Great March of Return” protests, Nigerian rights activists and Muslim scholars have hailed the Palestinian resistance for its liberation efforts in the face of Zionist oppression.
The Nigerian scholars, while speaking separately with Muslim News, also condemned Israel’s excessive use of lethal weapons against peaceful protesters, calling on the United Nations to place stiff sanctions on the Israelis and their collaborators.
Muslim News investigations revealed that no fewer than 260 civilians – 50 of them children – were murdered, while nearly 7,000 sustained various degrees of injury as the Palestinians marked the first anniversary of the protests, which started on March 30, 2018.
Israeli forces yesterday, Saturday used live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters, killing a 17 year old boy at a protest site east of Gaza City, and wounding at least 59 people, Aljazeera reported, quoting Gaza’s health ministry.
Despite Israeli apartheid regumea atrocities in Palestine, more than 40, 000 Palestinian protesters attended the protests at different points within the Israel-Gaza border fence, with slogans, “We are not leaving. We are returning to our land.”
‘Palestinian liberation is a cause worth dying for’ – Nigerian author
A renowned Nigerian author and veteran broadcast journalist, AbdurRazaq AbdusSalam, otherwise known as Abu Umar Al-Faruq said the Palestinian struggle for liberation is a cause worth dying for, calling on the protesters to sustain and continue same until justice is served.
The author of “Palestine: Why Our Hearts Bleed” stated that the seven decades of resistance to liberate Palestine is beyond emotions.
Quoting a popular Yoruba adage, Abu Umar said, “those who say they cannot die for a cause should not come to seek the throne of their fathers.
“The Palestinian struggle is about the existence of a generation of people who keep fighting, and they must continue to sustain the struggle until justice is done and by Allah, victory will soon kiss their feet”, he noted.
The media personality called on the Palestinians not to abandon the struggle after a year of the Great March of Return, adding that, “Israel doesn’t have limits. Israel doesn’t recognize laws when it come to international law. It operates on the whims and caprices of its leaders and US politicians.”
Citing the present circumstances in the Middle East, Abu Umar described US President Donald Trump as a willing fool, who is ready to do anything for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in the latter’s bid to win the forthcoming elections.
“Just like US’ decisive role in moving the American embassy from Tel-Aviv to disputed Jerusalem, the willing fool, Trump has recently recognised Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, against the UN status quo.
“You can see the reason the Palestinians must not give up, because giving up is like killing the age-long efforts of their forefathers. That is why they must sustain the struggle”, he added.
The Arabs didn’t abandon Palestine, their leaders did – Sheikh Thanni
Sheikh Abdul Fatai Thani, in his reaction to the anniversary of the Great March of Return, said it is not the Arabs but their political leaders who abandoned the struggle for liberation and allowed the Palestinians to be persecuted.
He said majority of the Arab leaders are more western than the westerners themselves, adding that, “in their thoughts and lives, they are nothing but indigenous foreigners who are only opportune to occupy prestigious seats as the leaders of the Arab countries.”
As for the Arabs, the founder of An-Najat Schools in Nigeria said they attach so much importance to the liberation of Palestine. They are willing to fight and support their brethen in Palestine, but their political leaders have made such difficult for them and sometimes even criminalize same.
Sheikh Thani, the spiritual leader of The Muslim Congress (TMC) assured the Palestinians of victory, which he said would come soonest, even though the day and time is in the hands of Allah.
“But when you’re fighting a battle that you believe you have God by your side, forget who might betray you. Forget those who might look down scornfully on you. Just continue doing what is right. At the appropriate time, Allah will send His helper to assist your cause, just like he sent Abdur Rahman Ghapqi to liberate Spain for Islam.
“Without doubt, victory will come for the Palestinians, but the day and time is in the hands of Allah.”
Why every Muslim must show sympathy for Palestinian struggle – Sheikh Shafi’i
The Grand Mufti of Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO), Sheikh DhikruLlahi Shafi’i, in a phone call with Muslim News, said now is the time for every Muslim, irrespective of their inclination, to show sympathy for the Palestinians and support their quest for liberation.
According to the erudite scholar, believers are brothers anywhere in the world regardless of their race, colour, tribe or language. “We are all brothers. So we must have sympathy for our brothers”, he said.
“When they are happy, we should be happy. But now, they are in pains and as expected, we must all feel their pains. The Prophet (SAW) said that the believers’ description as a result of their love is that they are like a body. When one part is feeling pain,the other parts are also feeling same.”
Speaking on the first anniversary of the Great March of Return, Sheikh Shafi’i said though many Palestinians might have lost their lives, the protests have recorded tremendous progress since they started last year.
“The news has it that Hamas, which rules Gaza, has reached a deal with Israel to reduce tensions in the Gaza Strip, reported Aljazeera, as quoted from Hamas-affiliated Al-Risalah newspaper.
“Long before the protests, there was a time the Palestinians were using only stones and catapults to defend themselves from the Zionist soldiers who were armed with dangerous weapons.
“The Palestinians remain resolute in their struggle for liberation. They ignored calls from some Muslims to leave their land and migrate elsewhere. Muslim nations kept mute but they were committed to the struggle. Today, the Hamas military now has rockets. It now uses technology to fight and Israel now panics”, he said.
Sheikh Shafii further explained that Palestinians are fighting a just cause, which is in accordance with the Human Rights Declaration of the United Nations.
“According to UN Resolution 242, when someone forcefully occupies one’s land, we can fight against such. It says all humans should be given freedom, but all these are in theory. The United Nations itself doesn’t implement them. If they do, the issue of Palestine shouldn’t have been as worse as it is.
“The world is full of hypocrisy. Those who said they want to make the world peaceful – the UN, comprising the General Assembly, Security Council and others, are responsible for the plethora of challenges facing the world. And there will be no peace until there is justice”, he added.
‘Using lethal weapons against protesters should be classified as war crime’ – CGPI
According to the Center for Global Peace Initiative [CGPI], the United Nations (UN) as presently constituted is too weak to call for any form of sanctions against Israel due to the backing of the US, which is the highest contributor of funds to the body.
CGPI Executive Director, Comrade Yekinni Shakiru made this disclosure in a phone call with Muslim News on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Great March of Return.
Comrade Yekini said, though he is not sure if Article 41 of the UN which mandated that international sanctions can be applied against erring members is still in force, there is an urgent need for it to be applied to the US and Israel.
“If anything, I would suggest that the UN can work with bodies promoting the boycott of Israel to effect such economic sanctions. Enough of condemnations without action,” he said.
On the use of lethal weapons against Palestinian protesters, CGPI urged the UN to document cases of such incidents, which should be classified as war crimes.
According to the CGPI, it should also ensure that every act of aggression by Israel (and those who aid it) is conclusively documented with the appropriate sanctions such as reparation, culpability and payment for war crimes, all documented as decisions of the UN for posterity.
“You know, sometimes when a nation commits a crime, just like debt, the next generation would be saddled with its settlement. I believe the status quo would one day change and the world would be able to deal with the retraction of Israel’s territorial violations. I have no doubt in my mind that those settlements being built illegally will revert to their rightful owners at the right time.”
‘Israel’s violent crimes more wicked than NZ mosque attacks’ – MAI
Muslim Awareness International (MAI), a Nigerian human rights group has commended the Palestinians for their resilience in the face of unjust persecution, while calling on the UN Security Council to sanction Israel, US and the Trump administration for their flagrant disobedience of UN resolutions.
The Director of the group, Engineer Abdul Waheed Atoyebi, further encouraged the Palestinians to continue to tow the line of peaceful protests as one of the approaches to demanding for justice.
He said Israel’s many years of violent attacks against the Palestinians should be condemned by all, adding that such attacks could be best described as acts of terror, which are more wicked than the act of the Australian terrorist who massacred 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand recently.
“Just as the world bemoaned the New Zealand mosque attacks, the world also should condemn Israel for its daily killing of Muslims in Palestine. The blood of Muslims is nothing to the Netanyahu-led government. This is nothing but terrorism and I expect the United Nations to go beyond condemnations”, Atoyebi said.
He also praised Palestinian citizens in diaspora who are breaking new grounds in achievements and development, despite the increase in Islamophobic attacks.
Last week, a twenty three year old Palestinian graduate, Omar Shanti won the European Union (EU)-funded MedReset Young Writers Prize, with his winning piece titled: “The #MiddleEast and the EU: New Realities, New #Policies”
While calling on the Arab leaders to stand for Palestinian rights, Atoyebi appreciated the Nigerian government and called on them to do even more by cutting off diplomatic relations with Israel.
– Story and interviews by Rasheed Abubakar with additional information from Aljazeera English