By Jafar M Ramini

Jafar Ramini

At this time of year, all able-bodied Muslims are expected to travel to Mekka and perform one of the most revered pillars of Islam, Al Hajj (The pilgrimage). Before they celebrate EID AL-ADHA they are required to offer a sacrifice of a lamb in memory of Ibrahim and his son, Ismail,

 Although the biblical story differs slightly from the Quoran, saying that the son to be sacrificed was not the first born, Ishamel, but Abraham’s second son, Isaac, the message is the same. The Angel of God stops Ibrahim/Abraham at the last moment saying, “now I know you fear God.” Ibrahim/Abraham releases his son, sees a ram caught in the bushes and sacrifices the ram instead.
I wonder, my fellow Muslims, when or if  that fear of God will come into our hearts and make us think of the ultimate sacrifice we are offering. Palestine. Not to God, but to our enemies.
We are told that prior to God asking the Prophet Muhammad to face Mekka in his prayers, Muhammad and the Muslim faithful used to turn to Jerusalem.  That is why Jerusalem is called the first qibla in Islam and Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third most revered mosque in the Muslim tradition after Mekka and Medina. Furthermore, it is said that the Prophet Muhammad, in his journey from Mekka to heaven stopped in Jerusalem and that journey is known in Islam as ‘Laylat Al- Mi’raj’.
Fellow Muslims, don’t you find it strange that none of us have so far lifted a finger to come to the aid of Jerusalem?
 In 1987, when the excesses of the Israeli settlers and the occupation army reached a zenith, the Palestinian people under occupation resisted as much as was humanly possible with the first intifada. Our Muslim brothers were nowhere to be seen. In 2000 when Arial Sharon, the then Prime Minister, and hundreds of Israeli settler extremists stormed Al Aqsa Mosque the Palestinians protested vehemently in what has become known as the second intifada. Our women, men, children and the elderly went into the streets and used stones to face the might of our formidable enemy. Again, their fellow Muslims were nowhere to be seen.
I am in no way pretending to be a Muslim cleric.  But I am a Muslim, I am a Palestinian and I am very indignant at the silence of the rest of the Muslim Ummah.
All people of the Muslim faith must have seen on the media the continued incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. They must have all seen the hoards of illegal, Zionist settlers and soldiers of the occupation forces and their leaders in the occupation government violating and desecrating these holy places.  The Israelis wander in and out at will.  They close the mosques for Muslim worshippers so as to allow the Jewish extremist settlers to use those holy places and perform Jewish rights.
Surely people of the Muslim faith have seen the Israeli flags, hoisted atop the dome of the Rock and the walls of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Ibrahimi Mosque.  I am also sure that many of us will have heard or read the repeated calls of many a Zionist leader to demolish Al-Aqsa Mosque to build The Temple of The Mount.
If you have, and if you are a true Muslim why aren’t you moved? At least, go in the streets of your various countries around the world and say to your leaders, ‘enough’. The very core of our religion has been shamed and violated. Do something about it. Instead, like the sheep that are about to to be sacrificed, you keep your heads down and your voices muted and do nothing.
Did I say nothing?  What you do in the name of protecting your own narrow tribal interests is join forces with our enemies and attack other Muslim lands and people. You sacrifice our natural resources, our men and our honour. Muslim jihadists flock from around the globe, in the name of our religion to kill Muslims and destroy Muslim’s land.  I wonder why you don’t direct your hoards towards the true enemies of Islam and Muslims. Do you need examples? Fair enough.  Look at what has been done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria and see what has been done to those Muslim countries that will inevitably lead to to further fragment the Muslim Ummah and inevitably the ultimate sacrifice of Palestine at the alter of imperialism and Zionism.
If you are a true Muslim, and a true follower of the faith and you see that the first ‘qibla’, Al-Aqsa Mosque is surrounded, threatened and violated with your brethren in Palestine in cages and you do nothing about it, what is the meaning of your ‘Hajj’?
Furthermore, let me draw your attention to the fact that your hosts in Mekka, the Saudi Government, have engaged the services of the British firm, G4 to ‘run the security during the Hajj period’. This is the same G4 who are running the check-points and the prisons, on behalf of the occupation forces in Palestine, making the lives of ordinary Palestinians and prisoners an unbearable experience on a daily basis.  Is that what has become of Islam?
The recently deceased Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, leader of the Israeli Shas Party said “he prayed for God to destroy Arabs without mercy because, in his view, they are all cockroaches that need to be killed”. In a speech delivered in 2004, Rabbi Yosef demanded the necessity of murdering Muslims, “for they are as dangerous as snakes and worms”. When Israelis killed around 1,500 Palestinians during the 2008-2009 War against Gaza, he remarked: “May God strike them [the Palestinians in Gaza] down with the plague along with all the nasty Palestinians who persecute Israel.” His latest vile remarks against Palestinians were in 2010, when Rabbi Yosef said in a Saturday sermon: “Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this world”.
And yet, Abu Mazen was the first, if not the only, world leader to offer his condolences when this venomous creature died and continues to conduct futile negotiations with the Zionist occupiers of our land and offers more concessions. Most Muslim leaders are dealing with our enemies. If not openly, then clandestinely in the name of securing their shaky regimes. A glaring example of the shepherd being the enemy of his flock.
Let me remind you that in 1969, when Christian zealot, Michael Dennis Rohan set fire to Al-Aqsa Mosque the then Israeli Prime Minister, Mrs. Golda Meir said that she had hardly slept a wink that night, thinking it was the end of Israel as she knew it. She believed that the Muslim hoards would come to destroy them.  When she woke up next morning and all was calm she proclaimed that Israel was safe in this neighbourhood because the Muslims were a dormant nation.
As far as I can see, we are not only a dormant Ummah we, the Muslims, are languishing in a self induced coma.
As the Prophet once said, “ The time will come to pass when any Muslim holding onto his faith will feel as if he’s holding burning embers in the palms of his hands.”
Have we reached this time?
Al Aqsa

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