Cross Post

Al Quds Day – is it for you?

This is a cross post by Dave Rich of the CST Blog

The Innovative Minds website has posted an article titled “Al Quds Day – Is It For You?”, which aims to “cut through the hasbra (sic)” which it claims “Zionists” have been spreading to discourage people from attending. This includes an explanation of why, although Quds Day was created by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, Quds Day is “not an Iranian event”, but just to express support for the Palestinians; is not just for Muslims; and is certainly not an “an anti-Semitic ‘kill the Jews’ hate fest”. They finish by asking: “So will you stand with us in support of Palestine, or will you by your absence give your support to the Zionists?”

It is true that participation in Quds Day is certainly not limited to Iranians and that the purpose of the day is not to express support for Iran, but the Iranian influence over the day is still strong, so it is worth knowing what the current Iranian regime think it is all about. Quds Day is held in Iran on the last Friday of Ramadan, which is today (the march in London is tomorrow), and Press TV already has reports of some of today’s events. Here, for example, is a report of President Ahmadinejad’s speech at Tehran’s Quds Day rally earlier today, in which he is reported to have said that Israel “is on the brink of collapse”. However, the collapse of Israel alone is not enough for Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, the deputy head of Iran’s Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said yesterday that Quds Day “appears to pave the way for the collapse of Israel and its allies, namely the US and Britain”. Iran’s Association for Liberation of the Holy al-Quds, which organises the Quds Day events in Iran, promoted their rally with a statement claiming that there is an “international resolve to annihilate Israel”.

Here in the United Kingdom, the organisers of London’s Quds Day march, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, have published a lengthy set of articles on their website to promote the day, and these, too, can be taken as a guide as to whether this is an event that is worthy of support.

The first five links are to quotes and writings of Ayatollah Khomeini, in a further clue to the Iranian origins of Quds Day (most of these links take you to the website of the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB). They make for interesting reading. In short, he believed that Israel and Zionism were plotting to occupy the entire Muslim world and destroy Islam completely, and he was not averse to employing antisemitic tropes in making his argument. For example, on “Israel the enemy of Islam and the Muslims” (all emphases added, as they are throughout this blogpost):

[…] For nearly twenty years now, I have been informing people of the danger of international Zionism. Today, I feel the danger for all the freedom-bestowing revolutions of the world, including the recent Islamic revolution in Iran, is no less than it was in the past, for at the present time these world-devouring bloodsuckers using various techniques to defeat the oppressed and weak of the earth have risen up and are active. Our nation and the free nations of the world should bravely and vigilantly resist these dangerous plots.

Imam’s message, 11 February 1981 (22 Bahman 1359 AHS). Sahifa-yi Nur, Vol. 14, p. 63.

The agents of imperialism are busy in every corner of the Islamic world drawing our youth away from us with their evil propaganda. They are not converting them into Jews and Christians, rather they are corrupting them, making them irreligious and indifferent, which is sufficient for their purposes. In our own city of Tehran now there are centres of evil propaganda run by the churches, the Zionists and the Baha’is in order to lead our people astray and make them abandon the ordinances and teachings of Islam.

Islamic Government,p. 176.

[…] Brothers and sisters, both sects must be vigilant and realise that these sightless, stipend-receivers, in the name of Islam, the sacred Qur’an and the customary practice (sunna) of the Prophet, want to pluck Islam, the Qur’an and the sunna out of the midst of the Muslims, or at the very least to lead the Muslims astray. The brothers and sisters should realise that America and Israel bear malice towards the very basis of Islam, because Islam, its book and the sunna are a thorn in their side and an obstacle to their plundering and because it was by following this book and this sunna  that Iran rose up to confront them, embarked on a revolution and was victorious.

Imam’s message on the occasion of the hajj pilgrimage and the auspicious `Id al-Qurban, 29 August 1983 (7 Shahrivar 1363 AHS). Sahifa-yi Nur, Vol. 19, p. 46.

(As an aside, it is striking that an organisation which claims to work for human rights should link to an article which accuses the Baha’is of conducting “evil propaganda” in Iran, given the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in that country).

On “Israel’s expansionism (the plan for a Greater Israel)“:

The heads of the Islamic countries should be aware that this germ of corruption which has been planted in the heart of the Islamic countries has not been put there merely to suppress the Arab nation, rather it is dangerous and harmful to the Middle East region as a whole. The plan is for the domination and supremacy of Zionism over the Islamic world and the further colonisation of the rich lands and abundant resources of the Islamic countries…

Imam’s message to the Muslim governments, 7 November 1973 (16 Aban 1352 AHS). Sahifa-yi Nur, Vol. 1, p. 201.

With your union you should pluck this germ of corruption out from amongst you. If you do not, then this cancerous growth will spread to other places. For it will not be content merely with the Golan Heights, for they (the Zionists) are of the opinion that the Jews are superior to all other races and the land from the Euphrates to the Nile belongs to Israel and should be returned to it

Imam’s speech dated 24 January 1982 (4 Bahman 1360 AHS). Sahifa-yi Nur, Vol. 16, p. 21.

What could be better  for all the governments of the region to muster all the power at their disposal to wipe Israel off the map? This maleficent Israel which has put the innocent Palestinians in the state they are now in, which has committed all these outrages against brave Lebanon, has encroached upon the countries of the region and has transgressed their borders. What could be better  for regional governments to take hold of one another’s hands and free the region from the iniquity of Israel and its supporter America? As I have reminded you time and again, Israel considers the area from the Nile to the Euphrates to be its own and it sees you as usurpers of its lands […]

Imam’s message on the occasion of the great religio-politico gathering of hajj and the auspicious feast of `Id al-Qurban, dated 29 August 1984 (7 Shahrivar 1363 AHS). Sahifa-yi Nur, Vol. 19, p. 48.

And some general statements by Khomeini about Quds Day itself:

• The Quds Day is a day in which Islam is to be revived.

• The Quds Day is a day in which the destinies of the oppressed nations must to determine.

• The Quds Day is a universal day. It is not an exclusive day for Quds itself. It is a day for the oppressed to rise and stand up against the arrogant.

• The Quds Day is Islam”s Live Day!

• The Quds Day is the Day of Islam.

• The Quds Day which fall on the last days of the God”s Great Month (Ramadhan) is a proper day on which all Muslims be freed from the bondage of the Big Satan (Great Devil, USA) and other superpowers and join the Infinite Might of God.

• The Quds Day which is coincidental with the Night of Destiny (Laylatul-Qadr) must be revived among the Muslims and be the starting point of their awakening and awareness.

It is a sign of the successful growth of Iranian influence in anti-Israel campaigning, that an event which was described by its founder in such terms now attracts widespread support from secular (including Jewish) anti-Zionists.

The IHRC website links to another article, titled “Zionism – the Greatest Danger“, taken from the website of Tebyan, an Iranian organisation. The article describes Zionism in terms which come directly from the antisemitic view of Jews: there is no other way to describe it. It begins:

The greatest evil facing the Muslim community (Ummah)and mankind today is not AIDS, Pollution, or Nuclear War. It is international Zionism. It is the Zionist greed for wealth, lust for perverted sex, greed for power, domination, and economic exploitation that is causing AIDS, POLLUTION as well as threatening NUCLEAR WAR.

Zionist (sic) are behind every evil and conflict in the world today. Whether it is political, economical, social or moral.

The Holy Quran, says:

“And you will most certainly find them the greediest of mankind for life (greedier) and of those who are polytheists; every one of them loves that he should be granted a life of a thousand years, and his being granted a long life will in no way remove him further off from the chastisement, and Allah sees what they do.”(2:96)

“You will find the most violent of people in enmity for those who believe (to be) the Jews and those who are polytheists…”(5:82)

“… whenever there came to them an apostle with what that their souls didn’t desire, some (of them) did they call liars and some they slew.(5:70)

This same Yahud (i.e. Jews) tried to destroy the Holy Prophet (SAW) and his followers in Medina.

The same Yahud that killed Prophet Yahya (AS), that defied Prophet Musa (AS), that crucified Prophet Isa (AS).

Today this Zionist are doing their utmost to destroy`Masjidu’l-Aqsa’ (Muslim’s first Qibla). Their aim is to conquer all Muslim lands and grab the oil resources and destroy Islam completely. Because Islam is a challenge to their evil schemes and exposes them.

The rest is in a similar vein. The IHRC website includes the standard disclaimer that “The opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of IHRC”; but then you have to ask, what is it about this article that the IHRC thought was worth bringing to their readers, to promote Quds Day?

There is another question that springs to mind. This year, Quds Day takes place against a backdrop of renewed peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, hosted by America. Hamas have responded with a series of shootings in the West Bank, killing four Israelis (so far), and have announced a working alliance with twelve other violent organisations in Gaza to coordinate terrorist attacks against Israel. What, I wonder, will the speakers at today’s ’s Quds Day march have to say about these two contrasting developments?