Hundreds in Washington protest US decision on Jerusalem
Hundreds gathered in front of the White House on Friday to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to perform the Islamic Friday congregational prayer.
The nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organizations, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Jews United Against Zionism took their grievances to the U.S. Capitol.
“This decision exposes what we have been saying for a long time that there is no such a thing as a peace process,” well-known U.S.-based Muslim scholar, Omer Suleiman told Anadolu Agency. “If we are to initiate an honest peace process then the American government has been anything but an honest broker.”
However, the fault largely lies on Muslim leaders and Arab leaders, Suleiman said, adding that some of those Arab leaders have secretly aided the Israeli occupation while some have given permission “behind close doors”.
“This is more them, than anyone else’s faults,’ Suleiman continued. “If they were to apply true pressure, if they were to put true red line on Jerusalem, as a man that only thinks of his business interests, Trump would not have had the arrogance to make the announcement that he made.”
Suleiman also claimed that Trump has taken the Jerusalem decision intentionally to distract people from the Russian investigation which is closing on him.
On Wednesday, Trump announced U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as well as plans to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The controversial decisions angered Muslims throughout the world.
Protestors chanted against Israel and Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, carried banners reading “Stop the occupation in Palestine now”, “Jerusalem belongs to Palestinians” and “We reject Trump’s decision”. The event ended without conflict.
“Today we gathered here to protest Trump’s decision, declaring Jerusalem to be capital of Israel,” Naem Baeg, Director of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) interfaith programs said.
“Now it is up to the international community and Muslim World, countries like Turkey, France to lead the others and work for the peace,” Baeg added, saying that with this decision the U.S. practically took itself outside of the peace process.
“We believe that this is a very bad decision. The Palestinians over there are already living in horrible condition. I know that because half of my family live there,” Mohammad Shami, a young Palestinian demonstrator said. “This will further escalate those problems that Palestinians are facing.”
Meanwhile, thousands of demonstrators also marched in Times Square, New York.
Demonstrators chanted against Israel and Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, shouting “Free, Free Palestine, Long live Palestine,” while carrying banners reading “This is unacceptable, Palestine will be free,” “Israel is a terrorist, Palestine is free” and “We reject Trump’s decision”. The event ended without conflict.
“The Trump government should re-evaluate its decision,” a student of New York University, Ahmad M. (22), told Anadolu Agency. “The Israeli state has been shedding blood on the holy land for decades, saying their cause is sacred. What religion allows this?”
Another demonstrator, Mohammad Nazeef, who has been in the U.S. for 10 years said he came to the country because he thought the U.S. has respect to everyone beliefs. However, racism is on rise since Trump has been elected as President.
“I am not sure if Trump wants to arrange a new Crusade but in the social circle, people’s behaviors against me have changed so much,” Nazeed said. “I seriously consider leaving the United States.”
During the massive demonstration under intense security measures, the New York police had to warn some demonstrators to stay in the designated areas.
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