This is a report from Muslim World News (MWN)
Several reports provide details about the ‘Al-Aqsa in danger’ gala which took place on Sunday (21/3/2010), organised by the Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) and ‘Islamic centres’ in London .* Remarkably, the gala took place at the London Central Mosque (Regent’s Park). Senior Islamists including Kemal Helbawy, Ahmed al-Dubayan, Rachid Ghannouchi and Hafiz al-Karmi are reported to have called for Jerusalem to be assisted by all available means.
The gala opened with welcoming words by the Palestinian media spokesman Zaher Birawi, PFB’s head of liaison and information, in which he emphasised that the gala was intended to help the holy places, the people and the guardians of Jerusalem [bayt al-maqdis] achieve victory. He added that this “was an opportunity to express the anger in the souls of the Arab and Muslim diaspora in Britain , in light of the ongoing Israeli crimes against Jerusalem and the holy places”.
The imam of the London Central Mosque, Sheikh Khalifa, spoke about the Palestinian miseries, which have been ongoing for over 60 years, and underlined the importance of Muslims around the world assisting their brothers under occupation.
Rachid Ghannouchi, head of the Tunisian Nahda movement, praised the spirit of resistance [muqawama] and the risk to life taken by the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian lands from 1948, especially by Sheikh Raed Salah; as well as those resistors who chose the path of steadfastness defending the holy places. Ghannouchi further stressed that this gala was not about paying last respects in a funeral; rather, it was sending hope to a living nation [umma], “which draws its motivation to act from Jerusalem, and not to submitting and shedding tears”. Ghannouchi expressed his anguish regarding the retreat in official Arab assistance over the problem of Jerusalem , and queried the value of possessing oil, fortunes and weapons, if they were not used to defend those who follow the path of the Prophet and the three holy places.
Anas Altikriti, director of the Cordoba Foundation, said that this gala was “an answer to the unbearable crimes against the people of Palestine and an answer to the crimes against Jerusalem and al-Aqsa”. He added that the gala constitutes a “response to an international stance of the Islamic nation and the stance of the Islamic scholars, a response to the call of the people of Jerusalem and condemnation of silence and weakness”. In an interview with Al-Jazeera.net, Altikriti sent a message to the British decision makers, saying that their country “played a historical role in the crime it committed against Palestine , and currently plays a role in keeping quiet against these daily crimes which take place by Zionism”.
Dr. Kemal Helbawy, Chairman of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism (CFSOT) fiercely criticised those he called “the custodians of the Sykes-Picot agreement”, saying that “the resistance is the active heart of the Islamic nation, that resistance is the only language that the occupation understands, which Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, grasps well.” Helbawy called for action by everyone according to his capacity, “to liberate Palestine — all Palestine ”.
Helbawy expressed his hope that the nation becomes “prepared for jihad in all its forms, until the occupier is expelled from its land, like France acted when Germany occupied it, and committed jihad until its country was released”. He asked: “Why was it permitted to France to release its land, while it is forbidden on the Palestinians to release their land?”
Dr. Hafiz al-Karmi, head of the PFB, closed the gathering, calling those who attended to think deeply, each according to his capacity, of the best way he can help al-Aqsa and portray the full picture to the new generations, so that Jerusalem remains alive in the hearts of Muslims. Karmi underlined the importance of the Prophetic hadith about sending oil to light the lamp in al-Aqsa, and his important guidance in helping the guardians of the boundaries [murabitun] in this sacred land. Karmi drew an anecdotal comparison “between the tunic of Joseph which was presented to his father Jacob and Jerusalem, which, he said, brings back to the nation its health, livelihood and power to act, and will lead to its release from the handcuffs of tyranny which have been holding it back for so long.