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Scholar says global ummah has duty to defend Al-Aqsa from ‘grave danger’

by Zahid Jadwat

Palestinian scholar Dr Khalid El-Awaisi told an audience at the Baitun-Noor Centre in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, that the global ummah must rise in defence of Masjid Al-Aqsa as the site is in “grave danger”.

El-Awaisi, who is currently visiting South Africa, is the Executive Director at the Turkish-based Islamic Jerusalem Research Academy. He is also a Lecturer in Early Muslim History at the University of Aberdeen.

He said the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and its undue control over the third-holiest site should be a cause for concern beyond the borders of Palestine.

“This, as much as it is for me as a Palestinian, is for you as a Muslim and as a human. This issue goes beyond the historical background of the occupation of Bait-Al-Maqdis. At the heart of all of this is Masjid Al Aqsa,” he said.

“Masjid Al-Aqsa, like the ka’bah is not for the Saudis, is not for the Palestinians. It is yours as much as it is mine. When we lost Al-Aqsa, Bait Al-Maqdis and Palestine, we actually lost the honour of this ummah,” said El-Awaisi.

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Although Israel has repeatedly claimed sovereignty over Al-Aqsa, the Kingdom of Jordan holds custodianship of the site through the Islamic Waqf since 1967.

Israeli forces have frequently disrupted Islamic activities in the precinct, especially during important days on the Islamic calendar. El-Awaisi said it is a shame that the global ummah has allowed Israel’s assault on the mosque to go unchecked.

“The ummah is dead,” he said, going on to narrate a hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which he believed to be an appropriate description of the status quo.

“[There are] two billion Muslims and Al-Aqsa is still under Zionist occupation 55 years later. Is it not a shame on this ummah that the first qiblah of the Muslims is under occupation?” he asked.

El-Awaisi explained that there would have been outrage had Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, been occupied by foreign forces. He questioned whether the global ummah would remain silent amidst an assault on the holy site.

“Al-Aqsa is no different than the ka’bah. It is the only two mosques mentioned in the Qur’an by name. For this reason, it is the duty of every Muslim [to resist the occupations].

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“Al Aqsa is a uniting factor for all the Muslims because it is yours as much as it is mine, said El-Awaisi.

He went on to explain that any assault against Al-Aqsa poses a threat to Muslims all over the world.

“What Israel is aiming at the first stage is to achieve the following: divide Al-Aqsa by time and space,” he said, adding that the mosque has already been divided by way of separate times of access for Muslims and Jews. Jews have been allotted the morning hours, while access for Muslims has been restricted to the afternoon.

“Now they are talking about taking a chunk of Masjid Al-Aqsa-and sealing it; not allowing the Muslims into that area,” warned El-Awaisi. “All of this is in preparation for taking the whole of Masjid Al-Aqsa and its destruction.”

El-Awaisi said Al-Aqsa is in “grave danger” because it “is a uniting factor”. He called upon the global Muslim ummah to take a stand and resist the destruction of the compound.


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