The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) is calling on the people of Cape Town to stand up, take action and show their disapproval of the latest Israeli attack on an aid flotilla that was headed for the Gaza Strip late on Sunday. Sheikh Ebrahim Gabriels of the MJC described the attack that took place in the early hours of Monday morning as "a very sad state of affairs".
A six ship flotilla was en route to deliver 10 tonnes of aid to Gaza when they were intercepted by Israeli navy forces who in turn said they had thought the 750 activists on board the Freedom Flotilla were transporting arms and ammunition to Palestine. The death toll of the attack is standing at 20 while scores have been left injured.
"We are asking our people to wake up and to stand up," said Gabriels. "At least some of the European countries like Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Greece have pulled back their embassies from Israel." Gabriels further said that the MJC has already put in a request at the South African government to do the same.
"The South Africa government is supposed to be the first in line because they were the second last apartheid state. We are expecting South Africa to do that but we are still waiting," said Gabriels, criticizing the government for not expelling the Israeli ambassador yet.
"We have decided one of the things that we are going to do is write to the South African government appealing them and asking them also for an urgent meeting," explained Gabriels. "And I hope that they are going to respond." Gabriels has applauded that the Israeli embassy in Turkey "is under siege", just as the Gaza Strip is under siege by Israel.
Gabriels has also pleaded with the rest of the community, whether they be Muslim or not, to write to the government as well. "You can also write to the office of the government and the office of the president and saying we were expecting South Africa to do something ... So write to the government. Send your faxes, send your emails and insha Allah, Allah will bring relieve to the people of Gaza and Palestine."
The senior member of the MJC further said that the public should not wait on their religious leaders to take protest action. However, it is the responsibility of each and every human being to show Israel just how dissatisfied they are with their attacks on the people of Palestine. According to Gabriels, already on Monday, the day of the attack, a big march in London took place and on Tuesday a marches in different cities in Australia was held.
Gabriels said that religious leaders in various areas across the city were not "involved, not coming forward". "The imams must also now come forward and do something with all the jamaats. It's unnecessary when we call a march and there's only 10,000 people, and that's because the leaders of the masaajid are not involved. Please come forward to the MJC so that we can decide," added Gabriels. "I think this is a very crucial moment for the Palestinian cause that has happened yesterday in international waters."
The alim also criticised international bodies such as the United Nations for not sending troops to Palestine to fight off the Israeli forces. "When it comes to Burundi and Congo and these poor countries then you see all the forces of the UN. They are filling up the capital of Burundi but when it comes to Palestine, it's double standards," he said.
"The UN is doing nothing. And it's impossible to believe that it's their responsibility to look after all human beings in the world, but it seems if something happens to the Palestinians or to any Muslims in this world then the UN is silent." VOC (Faatimah Hendricks)