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Muslim world expresses solidarity with Palestinians; denounces US decision on Jerusalem – World

Muslims across the world have observed Friday as a day of protest against the United States’ decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, defying the UN resolutions against the move and stepping back from the two-state solution of the conflict.

Marches were staged in Pakistan, AJK, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, India-held Kashmir, Jordan, Tunisia, Somalia, Yemen, and Indonesia. Protest demonstrations were also held in Japan and other parts of the world.

Protesters gather in Federal Plaza to protest President Trump’s announcement declaring US support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Chicago. —AP

Trump’s decision puts him at odds with the international community, which insists the issue can only be resolved through negotiations. Trump’s dramatic policy shift, announced on Wednesday, has triggered widespread international condemnation, including from US allies. Several European leaders have warned the US shift could further destabilise the region.

French President Emmanuel Macron said after a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri that he was “launching an appeal for calm and responsibility.” Hariri said the US decision “will further complicate the peace process and pose an additional challenge to the stability of the whole region.”

Protests erupt in Palestine

Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops across the West Bank and Gaza after Friday prayers to protest President Donald Trump’s recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

At least one Palestinian was killed in skirmishes between protesters and Israeli troops along the Gaza border fence, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Dozens more were reported wounded in clashes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Protesters burned Israeli and US flags or stomped on Trump posters in displays of anger.

In the West Bank, demonstrators torched heaps of tires, sending columns of thick black smoke rising over the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem. Palestinian stone-throwers traded volleys in the streets with soldiers firing tear gas and rubber bullets. The Israeli military reported protests at 30 locations across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and said Israeli forces arrested six people.

Red Crescent paramedics and Palestinian health officials reported 13 people wounded by live fire and 47 by rubber bullets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Dozens more suffered from tear gas inhalation, medics said.

Turkey

Thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters marched after Friday prayers in Istanbul in an angry protest at the decision of US President Donald Trump.

Chanting slogans including “Jerusalem is ours and will remain so!” and “down with America, down with Israel”, the protesters marched after prayers at the Ottoman Fatih mosque in the centre of Istanbul.

Other protests took place elsewhere in Istanbul, Ankara and across Turkey on Friday. Some protesters threw a placard with a picture of Trump and the slogan “servant of Zionism” to the ground and stamped on it with their feet.

The protesters marching from Fatih mosque converged with another group at Sarachane park. Palestinians, Egyptians, and Syrians were among them.

Bulent Yildirim, head of the pro-government Islamic charity Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), which helped organise the protest, condemned Trump’s declaration over Jerusalem.

“In fact we must thank Trump. For years we couldn’t tell the Islamic world about the great Satan. With one decision, he proved that America is the great Satan,” he said in an address.

Iran

After the Friday prayers, Iranians took to the streets of Tehran and other cities to protest against Trump’s decision, calling for “death” to Israel and the US and burning their flags.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, an ultra-conservative and a key leader of the main weekly Muslim prayers, said Trump had drawn a line on years of peace efforts by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “Only intifadas can turn day into a dark night for the Zionist regime,” he said.

In his Friday sermon, Khatami warned that Iranian missiles can reach Israel and destroy its cities.
“We build missiles and we will increase the range of our missiles as much as we can, to thousands of kilometres, in order to deprive White House dwellers of a good sleep,” he said. “If one day the Zionist regime wants to make a mistake, we will level Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground,” he added.

Iranian state broadcaster showed thousands of people protesting after the Friday prayers in Tehran and other cities. Protestors chanted “death to America”, “death to Israel” and “death to England”, and torched American and Israeli flags. They also held up signs that read “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) is ours” and “We stand against Israel to the end”.

President Hassan Rouhani said it was “wrong, illegitimate… and very dangerous”.

Afghanistan

More than 1,000 Afghans staged protests after Friday prayers in Kabul to condemn the decision by US president. The protesters, holding banners reading “death to Israel” and “death to America”, burned effigies of Trump as well as American and Israeli flags in the centre of Kabul.

A few dozen tried to reach the heavily-barricaded US embassy, but were quickly pushed back by Afghan security forces well before reaching it. In the western city of Herat, an AFP correspondent reported some 2,500 protesters staged demonstrations demanding Trump “reconsider his decision”.

Some 500 people also gathered in Kunduz, in the north-east of the country, according to an AFP reporter.

AJK

AJK boiled with protest rallies and demonstrations in all major cities and towns after Friday prayers.
Protesters took to the streets in AJK’s capital town where participants of a mammoth protest rally denounced Trump’s actions. Similar displays were seen in other AJK cities including the divisional headquarters of Mirpur and Rawalakot.

In Mirpur, various processions were taken out by the people belonging to all walks of life, from various city mosques after Friday prayer, on the call of Diffa-i-Pakistan Council.

All the processions turned into a mammoth protest rally at Shaheed Chawk where speakers belonging to various political, religious and public representative organisations strongly condemned the US for deciding to relocate its embassy to occupied Jerusalem.

India-held Kashmir

Hundreds of Muslims have protested in India-held Kashmir against the Trump administration’s recognition this week of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The protesters marched at several places in the main city of Srinagar and other parts of the region after Friday prayers. They chanted slogans such as “Down with America” and “Down with Israel.” In some places, the demonstrators also burned the US and Israeli flags.

Authorities imposed a curfew in parts of Srinagar and banned Friday prayers at the city’s main mosque, fearing the protests could morph into violent action against Indian rule.

Kashmiri leaders have called Trump’s move “anti-Muslim.” Kashmiris have shown solidarity with Palestine in the past and there have been violent protests in Kashmir during previous conflicts between Israel and Palestine.

Pakistan

Hundreds of Muslims across Pakistan also rallied against Trump’s decision. Friday’s rallied were organised by Islamic groups in Islamabad and elsewhere in the country, where protesters torched effigies of Trump to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

Rallies took place in the port city of Karachi, and also in Multan and Lahore. Leaders addressed the crowds and urged Muslim countries to cut diplomatic ties with Washington to pressure Trump to reconsider his decision.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry issued a statement expressing concern over what is said was Trump’s altering of “legal and historical status” of Jerusalem.

Egypt

Hundreds of Egyptians protested the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy to the contested city.

The protests, reported by state-run TV, are took place at the famous Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo following Friday prayers amid tightened security. The protesters chanted “down with Israel” and “we sacrifice our blood and souls for Palestine.”

Jordan

In the Jordanian capital of Amman, hundreds of protesters chanted “Jerusalem is Arab” and “America is the head of the snake.” Demonstrators stomped on a poster that showed Trump alongside a Nazi swastika.

The march took place in the center of the capital of Amman, following Friday mosque prayers. The demonstrators raised posters showing Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site. They chanted, “America is the head of the snake.”

Jordan has a special stake in Jerusalem. Its monarch is the religious guardian of the Muslim shrine, and the kingdom has a large Palestinian population.

Somalia

Several hundred people protested in Somalia’s capital against President Donald Trump’s decision.

The protesters in Mogadishu, led by Islamic scholars, marched from a mosque after Friday prayers to the bustling K4 junction to show solidarity with Palestinians. They chanted anti-Israel and anti-Trump slogans.

“I am really disappointed in this decision,” protester Shamso Aden said. “Our sentiment is so high. We won’t accept this, as we will fight to the end.” Another protester, Amir Mohamed, says: “This is blackmailing the Muslim community at large.”

Lebanon

Thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians marched in the streets of Beirut in protest against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

More than 5,000 people took to the streets near the Palestinian refugee camp of Chatilla after Friday prayers and marched toward a cemetery where hundreds of Palestinians, including commanders, are buried.

The Chatilla refugee camp was the site of a massacre that left hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinians dead in 1982 during Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. The massacre in Chatilla and the nearby camp of Sabra was carried out by Lebanese Christian militiamen allied with Israel.

Carrying Palestinian flags, the group marched from the Imam Ali mosque in Beirut’s western neighborhood of Tareeq Jadeedeh to the cemetery before they dispersed peacefully.

Malaysia

Thousands of protesters in Malaysia demonstrated on Friday outside the US embassy over President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, denouncing it as a “slap in the face” for Muslims worldwide.

Some 5,000 demonstrators marched on the US’s Kuala Lumpur mission after Friday prayers in a nearby mosque, chanting and waving banners that read “hands off Jerusalem” and “down USA President Trump”.

The protesters in Kuala Lumpur were led by Khairy Jamaluddin, the sports minister and head of ruling party UMNO’s youth wing, who accused of Trump of having made “an illegal announcement”. “What you did is against international law — Muslims cannot accept your action,” he said in a speech to the crowd during the hour-long protest.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, several hundred people demonstrated outside the US embassy in the capital Jakarta, carrying placards that said “no to Trump” and unfurling a large Palestinian flag.

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