Global March to Jerusalem leader compares Israel to Nazis & declares their readiness for “martyrdom”

Prior to its departure for Lebanon from the Turkish port of Tasucu, the Global March to Jerusalem’s SE Asia delegation was joined by Turkish activists.

According to the Iranian Fars news agency, some of them previously took part in the 2010 flotilla aboard the IHH-owned Mavi Marmara.  The ‘Asian People’s Solidarity for Palestine’ website carries the same information.

At the SE Asia caravan’s final stop in Turkey – Konya – Global March to Jerusalem organiser Feroze Mithiborwala is reported to have made a speech somewhat contradictory to the march’s professed commitment to non-violence.

“Firouz Mitiborwala, representative for IEC and ICC, was invited to the podium to address the people of Konya. He stated that Palestine has become an element of unity for the people of Asia. In regards to Israel’s threats towards the GMJ – Asian Caravan, he stated, “Israel has gone crazy, and they are acting no different than Nazi’s. Our response to them is a response of bravery. We are ready for martyrdom for our Palestinian brothers.” 

Meanwhile in Lebanon itself, the Daily Star reports that the number of activists permitted to take part in Friday’s demonstrations may be limited to 5,000.

“The committee organizing the march, which is expected to attract several hundred international activists along with thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians, met Monday and decided that the number of people gathering at Beaufort Castle in Nabatieh would have to be limited in number.

They settled on Beaufort Castle, near the village of Arnoun, but members of the organizing committee visited the site Monday and voiced concerns that it could only handle 5,000 people.

Beaufort Castle is located on a steep hill. Members of the organizing committee, which includes representatives of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as civilian groups, expressed their worries about the venue, which is located on an outcropping with steep slopes on all sides.

A member of the committee, who requested anonymity, said that much of the enthusiasm for the event was waning because the authorities refused to give permission for a gathering south of the Litani River.”

Zeid Daher of Hezbollah and Yasser Ali of Hamas inspect the site.(Daily Star)

‘Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe’ issues rallying call supporting Global March to Jerusalem

In a manner reminiscent of the way some animals and birds puff themselves up in order to appear larger to their adversaries, organisations associated with various organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem are issuing endorsements and statements which, at first glance, suggest a much wider support base than actually exists.

Into this category falls the March 22nd communique issued by the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) and reproduced on the GMJ website. The press release opens:

“The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) invites Muslims, and the management bodies of organisations, Islamic centres, and mosques across the European Continent to dedicate the last week in March 2012 to intensive activities in support of the city of Jerusalem (al-Quds) and the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, given the escalating Israeli threats to the city, its holy sites, and the Palestinian inhabitants.

This initiative comes as part of worldwide efforts to support the just cause of Jerusalem, including the ’Global March to Jerusalem’ on 30 March 2012 in opposition to Israeli occupation and prevailing for the values of truth, justice, liberties of peoples, and human dignity.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) voices its deep concern regarding the situation in the city of Jerusalem, and the violations of the sanctity of the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, and Muslim and Christian holy sites by the Israeli Occupation and its extremist groups. Furthermore, the Federation affirms its solidarity with the Palestinian people, demanding they be allowed to regain their stolen rights, and realise their legitimate demands. The Federation emphasises the importance of universal, concerted effort and cooperation to confront the arrogance of the Israeli occupation persisting in its unrestrained and aggressive policies against the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants, as well as engaging in effective action to bring an end to these flagrant violations.”

Logo – FIOE

The FIOE is, however, hardly an objective bystander. It is the umbrella organization of Muslim Brotherhood groups in Europe, with much of its funding coming from Gulf sources.   Several of the GMJ organisers are functionaries of one or more of those groups or branches of the Ikhwan elsewhere whilst still others among the GMJ organisers are members of or associated with Hamas – a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot.

In addition, the FIOE has ties to groups and personalities engaged in fundraising for Hamas.

Head of the Dublin-based ‘European Council for Fatwa and Research – established by FIOE in 1997 – is Yusuf Qaradawi, who also heads the ‘Union of Good’ which is banned by Israel and the United States because of its provision of funds to Hamas – a proscribed terror organization.

The ‘Union of Good’ includes the owners of the Mavi Marmara – the IHH – (representatives of which are among the GMJ organisers) and a British charity named ‘Education Aid for Palestinians’ of which GMJ spokesman Zaher Birawi is a trustee.

Qaradawi is of course noted for his extreme anti-Semitism, admiration for Hitler and homophobia. He resides in Qatar, where he has a regular slot on the regime-owned TV station Al Jazeera, and has recently been banned from entering France. 

The FIOE’s expression of support for the Global March to Jerusalem is, therefore, akin to a glowing review of a book on Amazon written by the author’s mother. 

Turkish delights for the Global March to Jerusalem in Istanbul.

As previously reported, the SE Asia delegation of the Global March to Jerusalem (which has picked up some Iranian fellow travellers along the way) is currently in Turkey.

One of the Iranian delegates has provided photographs of the caravan’s reception at a sports centre in Istanbul on March 25th.

The event appears to have been hosted by the Turkish organisation ‘Mazlumder’ – otherwise known as ‘The Organisation of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples’.

Mazlumder is part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s network in Turkey. It was founded in 1991 and declares itself to be associated with Islamist organisations tied to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran and the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan. Its chairman, Ahmet Faruk Unsal was an AKP member of parliament from 2002-2007 and is also a senior member of the Hamas supporting organization, IHH.

Mazlumder collaborated with the IHH and George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ on a 2010 convoy to Gaza, where its chairman Unsal was received by Hamas  leader Ismail Haniyeh, along with the IHH’s head Bulent Yildirim. Also present on the convoy was GMJ spokesman and known Hamas activist Zaher Birawi.  Ahmet Unsal also took part in the 2009 ‘Masjid Al Aqsa Symposium’  in Istanbul together with Raed Salah.

The wording on the banners decorating the reception’s venue therefore comes as little of a surprise.

Mixed messages about violence from the Global March to Jerusalem

In an interview with the Palestinian news agency Ma’an on March 19th, GMJ spokesman Zaher Birawi stated that the organisers are “not interested in confrontation with the Israeli army, after similar demonstrations a year earlier ended in bloodshed”.

Whilst it is difficult to imagine exactly what sort of effective controls the GMJ organisers have been able to put in place in order to prevent their aspired one million man march from descending into violence, it should also be taken into account that a considerable number of the GMJ organisers are veterans of the flotilla project who still describe the Turkish activists aboard the IHH-sponsored Mavi Marmara in 2010 as ‘humanitarian aid workers’.

Others are members of various ‘popular resistance committees’ which define the weekly riots at places such as Bil’in and Nebi Salah as ‘non-violent protest’. The heavy involvement of Hamas and the Iranian regime in the march’s organization, together with support from Hizbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad also raises doubts as to the sincerity of the professed commitment to non-violence.

Coincidentally, the North American chapter of the GMJ has put out a new leaflet replete with messages of non-violence and invoking Gandhi and Martin Luther King as role models. 

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Click to Enlarge

When compared to the original publicity put out by the GMJ organisers, it is rather obvious that someone appears to have reached the conclusion that the North American audience is in need of a somewhat softer approach. 

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Click to Enlarge

However, over in South East Asia, audiences are apparently deemed by local GMJ organisers as being susceptible to somewhat different messages in the attempt to raise support for the project.

In Kuala Lumpur on March 18th a flashmob of students gathered in order to “create awareness on the Global March to Jerusalem”.  Chairman of the Malaysian branch of the GMJ, Dr Mohd Tahir Abdul Rahman, was present at the event and made the following erroneous statement:

“Our focus is Jerusalem, where presently Muslims and Christians are denied access to their sacred places and holy places of worship by the Zionists,” he said after the flash mob today.”

The flashmob’s student organisers explained that:

“We wanted to create awareness about the oppression in Palestine by recreating scenes of the march toward Jerusalem and also show Palestinians being liberated”

As can be seen in the video of the event below, their idea of “scenes of the march toward Jerusalem” apparently includes dead Israeli soldiers.

Somebody obviously missed out on the ‘non-violence’ memo. 

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Malaysian Islamists within Global March to Jerusalem leadership organize anti-Zionist ‘flashmob’

On Friday, March 2nd 2012, members of the Malaysian Islamist organisation ‘Aqsa Syarif’ (also Aqsa Sharif), which is a member of the official GMJ organising body in that country, organised a ‘flashmob’ outside the Al Amaniah Mosque, Selayang (Batu Caves) in order to (according to their description) “create awareness on Palestinian issues and in support of Global March to Jerusalem”.

The chair of Aqsa Syarif – Mohd Tahir Abd Rahman – is also chair of GMJ Malaysia and a member of the GMJ Central Committee.  Aqsa Syarif has collaborated with ‘Viva Palestina Malaysia’ and the IHH on a convoy to Gaza. Last year Aqsa Syarif held a fundraising dinner at which the keynote speaker was Hamas activist Azzam Tamimi. Also in 2011 representatives of the organisation also went on a speaking tour to Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany.

“My husband and I express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to all Malaysian students in the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland for wanting to invite Aqsa Sharif to give explanations about the struggle to free Al-Aqsa Mosque and Palestine.”

Below are pictures of the ‘flashmob’ event taken from the official Facebook account of GMJ Malaysia.