Journalist Robert Inlakesh bemoans the lack of response from Muslims worldwide as Masjid Al Aqsa is repeatedly attacked by Israeli settlers and armed forces.
On the first day of Eid al-Adha an Islamophobic hate crime was committed against Muslim worshippers by thousands of fanatical attackers, some of whom were heavily armed. The attack took place upon the third holiest site to Muslims, the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, and resulted in the injuring of at least 61 people, according to the Red Crescent.
The attack on Al Aqsa was perhaps the biggest Islamophobic attack since the Christchurch terrorist attack in March this year. According to the Jerusalem Religious Endowments Authority (Wafq), 1,729 Israeli illegal settlers stormed the Temple Mount and Masjid Al Aqsa. The settlers were followed by scores of Israeli armed police forces, who protected them as they broke into the site. The heavily-armed police then began to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at worshippers, beating and arresting anyone who got too close to them.
This should have been headline news all over the world. However, the story was all but crushed and little to no outrage was stirred up over it.
We also saw a similar quashing of an incident at Masjid Al Aqsa at the time of the burning of Notre Dame in Paris in April. Many weren’t aware that around the very same time Masjid Al Aqsa was also burning, inflicting damage to the roof of the al-Marwani prayer hall.
What is disappointing about this is that the lack of outrage and solidarity from Muslims, and in fact many Muslims weren’t even aware of this even happening. The world then mourned and raised money for the rebuilding of Notre Dame, with many Muslims donating to the cause.
Al Aqsa should be a red line
On a near weakly basis, Muslim worshipers fall victim to Islamophobic attacks at the site of Masjid Al Aqsa and there is a routine lack of response by Muslim organisations and representatives.
It was previously assumed, at least by most Palestinians, that Muslims would stand up against this tyranny and a mass outrage would have been sparked internationally if actions were taken against Al Aqsa, especially following Donald Trump’s declaration that he would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in December 2017.
But despite the implications for the future of Jerusalem, when Trump’s declaration occurred the only ones to take direct action were the Palestinians themselves.
There was once a time, not so long ago, when Masjid Al Aqsa was a red line for the Israelis. We saw this in September 2000 when former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon entered the Al Aqsa compound and triggered the Second Palestinian Intifada.
But since the end of the Second Intifada in 2005 the Palestinian Authority (PA), which rules over the West Bank, is simply focused on keeping itself in power and making money for its employees. The PA, headed by the unelected Mahmoud Abbas, is practically an Israeli proxy force which coordinates on “security issues” with Israel, and which is making it possible for Israel to maintain the world’s first cost-free occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
So we see no response from the PA which could easily cut off security coordination with Israel and make them pay for their illegal actions. But again, there is little attention even placed on what is going on at Al Aqsa, so why would they even entertain that idea?
Another problem with the situation at the Al Aqsa compound has been the lack of pressure placed upon Jordan to take steps which would force Israel to prevent these Islamophobic attacks. It is Jordan that gained control of the Wafq guards of the Al Aqsa compound following the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, and after the 1967 war (in which Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem) Jordan still maintained de facto control over the Al Aqsa area.
So why has there been no pressure placed upon Jordan to threaten abandonment of its peace treaty with Israel in order to pressure Israel to prevent its illegal settlers and armed forces from entering the site?
If we as Muslims in the West truly wish to fight Islamophobia, we must recognise the connection between Islamophobia here and what is happening in Palestine. It is an essential part of our struggle and we must work to combat Islamophobic attacks conducted against our holy sites.
Ultimately, the reason why these attacks can persist comes down to a lack of action from Muslims which enables Israel to persistently get away with its attacks against Al Aqsa.
If we see the complete destruction of Masjid Al Aqsa (which is a desire that many Israeli groups are working towards) it will come at the hands of Muslims who could have acted but turned away from the protection of the site, which was once the Qibla and where the Prophet Muhammed (saw) ascended to the heavens.
An Islamophobic hate crime against Muslims at Al Aqsa is an Islamophobic hate crime against every Muslims everywhere.