Thousands of Muslims in Nigeria have strongly condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
At a rally staged in Lagos, on Sunday, Dec. 10, about three thousand Muslims from three major Islamic organizations called on world leaders to form a united front to confront the “unilateral and counterproductive” declaration as well as hold the US leader responsible for the violence that has broken out in the region.
Displaying placards condemning the development, the protesters also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to break his silence over the ‘glaring injustice’ done to the Palestinians and the Muslim world.
Speaking at the rally, the Amir (President) of The Muslim Congress (TMC), Dr Lukman AbdurRaheem stressed that the unilateral declaration is a threat to world peace and called for a united global action to stop it.
They also urged local Christian leaders to get off the “erroneous belief” that Trump’s action served any Christian agenda.
According to AbdurRaheem who is a university lecturer, it is rather unfortunate that many so-called educated Nigerians are misleading the Nigerian Christian community towards believing that the Palestinian struggle amounts to Islam versus Judaism and Christianity.
He stressed that it is very wrong and sad that some Nigerians politicise the unjust and unilateral American decision to go against international law to recognise disputed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Trump’s singular act drew widespread condemnations from world leaders. Religious leaders too, particularly Christian leaders, have also condemned the act,” Abdur-Raheem said.
According to him, no matter how religious we might be, we cannot be more Catholic than the Pope, noting that even Pope Francis has also joined the world in criticizing Trump’s illegal move. He quoted the Pope, who has always been an advocate of peace in Palestine, as saying:
“I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days. And at the same time, I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”
Also speaking, the Director of Muslim Awareness International (MAI), Engineer Abdul Waheed Atoyebi, called on Nigerian Christians to follow the directions of these men of God to condemn Israel and the US.
He said it is equally important for the churches to educate their members on the situation in Jerusalem, so they won’t be misinformed by politicians.
Atoyebi stressed that the sufferings of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank are not meted out to Muslims alone. “Christians are also being persecuted in Palestine. Contrary to erroneous belief that the state of Israel represents Christianity, we unequivocally state that the current Zionist regime has never represented Christianity,” he said.
He, therefore, called on world leaders to boycott the U.S. and Israel in a bid to force them to reverse the policy. His words:
“We welcome Turkey and Lebanon’s suggestion of a diplomatic boycott of Israel over this unfortunate course of action, and we strongly encourage other Arab and Muslim nations to follow suit.”
President of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, (MSSN) in Lagos, Saheed Ashafa also condemned Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, describing the move as a slap on the Muslim world and lovers of justice.
“The issue is not about religion only, but also about humanity and peaceful coexistence,” Ashafa said.
Despite warnings from close US allies, U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Dec. 6th, controversially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and directed the State Department to prepare for moving the embassy there from Tel Aviv.
His decision upended seven decades of US foreign policy that has resisted a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
Although the Israeli government quickly embraced Trump and his approach to US foreign policy in the Middle East, the US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is costing Washington immensely throughout the greater Arab and Muslim world.
The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem policy triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq and other Muslim countries.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — now occupied by Israel — might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.