Journalist Robert Inlakesh argues that while the response of the Muslim Ummah to the plight of French Muslims has been swift and effective, its response to the much worse plight of the Palestinians has fallen well below acceptable levels.
Following the decision of French President to endorse the printing of insulting depictions of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), Muslims from all sects have united in their condemnation of Emmanuel Macron and implemented an immediate boycott of French goods. So is it now time that Muslims do the same against Israel for the Palestinians?
The French crackdown on innocent Muslims across France, who had nothing to do with terrorist attacks, has clearly been viewed as a collective crack down on Muslims instead of the individual criminals responsible for violent crimes.
This crackdown, coupled with the recent comments of the French President in which he has claimed that “Islam is in crisis” and “Islamist separatists” are a huge problem in France, as well as his defence of Charlie Hebdo’s insulting depictions of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), has sparked a worldwide backlash from Muslims who have decided this behaviour is intolerable.
So as Muslims, having taken a moral stand against the Islamophobia running rampant in France, is it time that we now use this unified energy to confront the Islamophobic Israeli regime for its heinous crimes against Palestinians and the Muslim Ummah as a whole?
Palestinian Muslims have just partaken in one of the largest demonstrations against the actions of Emmanuel Macron and the French state at the site of Masjid Al Aqsa. Thousands of Palestinians, following Jumu’ah prayers, gathered to protest French Islamophobia which resulted in the Israeli occupation forces brutally attacking and arresting demonstrators in the streets of the old city of Jerusalem.
This behaviour from Israeli authorities is no new thing, however. Since the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and the later annexation of this territory in 1980, Israeli extremist settlers, occupation forces and leading political figures have ruthlessly attacked Muslim worshippers in the third holiest site in Islam, the Al Aqsa compound.
Countless attempts have been made to burn Masjid Al Aqsa to the ground by extremists and countless attacks by Israeli occupation forces have left Al Aqsa Mosque damaged. Israel is even conducting extensive drilling operations underneath the Al Aqsa compound, which is weakening the foundations of the site.
The destruction of sites inside Jerusalem is not simply hyperbole, it is a real threat to the lives of Palestinians in the city. In fact 2020 is set to break all previous records regarding the number of Palestinian homes demolished in East Jerusalem, with hundreds of Palestinians already having been made homeless so far this year.
Islamophobic attacks on al-Aqsa are committed every single year (in some periods even on a daily basis) yet the Muslim Ummah have continued to stand by and shy away from confronting this issue with the tenacity it has in the case of France.
Israeli political figures have countless times insulted Islam and the reaction to this again has been weak. The Israeli regime has even turned mosques of significance in Palestine, such as the 13th Century al-Ahmar Mosque in Safad, into nightclubs as an insult to Muslims.
Just days ago, YouTube had to take down an Israeli song which was insulting the Prophet Muhammed, only actually doing so when Ayman Odeh, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, highlighted the issue. Back in 2018, Israeli Member of Knesset, Oren Hazan, even lauded China’s horrific “re-education” camps for Muslims and suggested Israel do the same.
When the U.S. President, Donald Trump, recognised Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, essentially snatching the besieged Al Aqsa compound from Muslims and placing it under the permanent siege of the Islamophobic regime, the Muslim world again failed to unite to protect the site where our Qibla once was.
At the same time of this failure by Muslims to stand up for our Holy Site and for the Palestinians, Muslims were tear gassed and kicked in the face whilst praying.
Since the end of the Second Palestinian Intifada in 2005, well over 10,000 Palestinians have been murdered by Israel, most of them Muslims. Yet despite these massacres hitting our TV screens year after year, the power of 1.8 billion Muslims is rarely felt. We can’t even bring ourselves to collectively boycott Israeli goods; even in Ramadan many Muslims see it fit to still purchase and eat Israeli-grown dates sourced from illegal settlements (primarily located in the Jordan Valley).
Muslim Majority countries such as Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain and Sudan have all signed nornmalisation deals with Israel, with countries such as Saudi Arabia working with them under the table. Slowly Muslims in the West are also normalising Israel and its Zionist supporters, with many Islamic organisations fearing to stand by the Palestinian people.
The most Islamophobic regime on earth
The suffering of our brothers and sisters in Palestine is now at an unprecedented level. In the case of the Gaza Strip, it has been declared at the start of this year as “unliveable” by experts at the United Nations.
Yet we as Muslims missed their cry for help in 2018, with the start of the Great Return March, one of the largest (per percentage of the population of Gaza) non-violent demonstrations in history, which ultimately resulted in the martyrdom of 330 innocent people, including men, women, children, the elderly, journalists, medics and disabled people.
So surely it is time for Muslims to collectively boycott Israeli products, and end all forms of normalisation with the regime that murders our brothers and sisters and attacks our holy sites.
We have shown in the case of France what our international unity is capable of, the impact we can have. So now after 73 years it’s time we confront the most Islamophobic regime on earth and fight to restore Palestinian human rights.