December 15, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 7231

Pakistani Religious, Political Leaders React To President Trump's Recognition Of Jerusalem As Capital Of Israel

December 15, 2017
Pakistan, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 7231

Protestors in Pakistan burn Israeli and American flags in Bahawalpur (left), and an effigy of Donald Trump in Lahore (right).

On December 6, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and also that the U.S. Embassy would be moved there from Tel Aviv. The announcement sparked protests in the Islamic world, since Muslims consider Jerusalem to be the First Qibla, or direction of prayer, before it was superseded by Mecca. Leaders of political and religious parties in Pakistan also condemned the U.S. announcement in speeches and press statements and at protest rallies in towns across the country.

According to a media report, protests were held by different religious and political groups in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Multan, Karachi, Quetta, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur, Muzaffargarh, and other towns across Pakistan on Friday, December 8, and also on previous days.[1] The lead organizations holding the protest rallies included Jamaatud Dawa (the charity arm of the Pakistani jihadi organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)), Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Difa-e-Pakistan Council (Defense of Pakistan Council – a network of militant religious groups that includes Jamaatud Dawa), Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Jamaat Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, Milli Muslim League (a political party in the making and established by Jamaatud Dawa leaders), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, and Pakistan Ulema Council, among others.

This paper reviews statements on the issue by Pakistani religious and political leaders that appeared in Roznama Islam, a pro-Islamism Urdu daily, from December 7-10, 2017.

Jihadi Commander Hafiz Muhammad Saeed: "The Oppressed Palestinian Muslims Are Calling For Help; They Are Today Awaiting A Salahuddin Ayyubi"; "For The Defense Of Jerusalem, Every Child Of Muslims Is Ready To Sacrifice His Life"

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the emir of Jamaatud Dawa and founder of LeT, who was recently freed from prison in Pakistan by a Pakistani court and is accused by India of masterminding the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks,[2] said: "This move by Trump is an expression of friendship with Jewism and of his views against Islam and the Muslims. Israel calls occupied Jerusalem its capital, and the U.S. is going to recognize it. Due to this U.S. decision, the entire Middle East will be swept in war... Israel forcibly occupied Palestine, including Jerusalem, and the nations of the world remained silent spectators. Occupied Palestine contains the First Qibla of the Muslims."[3]

In another statement, Hafiz Saeed declared: "Pakistan and Saudi Arabia should unite the entire Muslim world against the declaration to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. For the defense of the First Qibla, Muslim countries should abandon their differences. Muslim countries should unitedly perform their role to foil the Zionist and Jewish conspiracies."[4]

Calling for a mass march in Lahore on December 17, he stated: "The oppressed Palestinian Muslims are calling for help. They are today awaiting a Salahuddin Ayyubi [Salah Al-Din, who conquered Jerusalem in 1187 CE]. Jerusalem is the First Qibla of Muslims and the occupier Israelis have no right to occupy Al-Aqsa mosque. For the defense of Jerusalem, every child of Muslims is ready to sacrifice his life."[5]

He added: "Jews are today saying that Medina is theirs. There is a map in Tel Aviv that shows Medina as the state of Jews... If the Muslims remain silent today, this is not going to stop. The Muslim ummah should unite and free Jerusalem just as [the second Islamic caliph] Umar ibn Khattab did. The day Jerusalem is secured, the Muslim countries too will be protected. And Islam will rise in the world as a major force. There is a need today to awaken the Muslim ummah."[6]

Hafiz Saeed went on to say: "The rulers of Muslim countries should terminate their diplomatic ties with America, and expel its diplomats from their countries. Islamic countries should close down the embassies of countries that open their embassies in Jerusalem."[7] Separately, he said: "Pakistan too should step forward and perform a leadership role. Pakistan is the defense of the world of Islam and an atomic power. We have to get rid of the slavery of foreign powers and lead the Islamic world."[8]

Speaking at a press conference in Karachi, leaders of Difa-e-Pakistan Council (a network of militant and religious organizations associated with Hafiz Saeed and others), called for a big march and stated: "Muslim governments must not adopt silence on this issue. America is trying for the illegitimate existence of Israel to be accepted in order to achieve its objectives in the Middle East. Muslims have a spiritual relationship with the First Qibla and Palestine, [we] will not let it come under harm."[9] Muzammil Iqbal Hashmi, the deputy president of the Milli Muslim League party who also spoke at the press conference, stated: "After 1917, President Trump's announcement has caused the second deep wound to the Palestinians. For the past century, the land of Palestine has been colored with the blood of Muslims."[10]

Addressing a protest march in the town of Multan organized by Difa-e-Pakistan Council, Mian Suhail Ahmed said: "We do not accept Israel as a country. By unmasking the real face of America, there has to be every type of boycott of America. The only path for the freedom of the First Qibla [i.e. Jerusalem] is the path of Salahuddin Ayyubi [who conquered Jerusalem]. This will not only lead to the liberation of Jerusalem, but Muslims will emerge as a force."[11]

Militant Leader Allama Aurangzeb Farooqi: "The Current Islam-Enemy President [Trump] Is Pursuing The Dangerous Plan Of Stoking A War Between The Crescent And The Cross" – Prof. Sajid Mir Of Jamiat Ahle Hadith: "[Trump] Is Practically Under The Influence Of Zionists"

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the emir of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, condemned Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and stated: "For the past 15-16 years, America has been on the path to stoke wars in the Islamic world... This decision [recognizing Jerusalem] has deepened the wounds further and has pushed the future of Muslims toward war. America doesn't want peace in the region because this announcement has become a cause to sabotage the attempts for peace in the Middle East. The entire nation [of Pakistan] should play its full role in countrywide protests expressing unity with the Palestinians..."[12] Qari Muhammad Usman, the emir of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam for Sindh province, told an audience in Karachi: "The American decision is an attack on the Muslim ummah... The controversial decision is part of the Greater Israel project. It cannot be accepted at any cost."[13]

Speaking at a press conference in Lahore, Hafiz Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council, condemned the Trump decision, saying: "Islamic countries should boycott America diplomatically and economically... The U.S. president has hatched a conspiracy to destroy peace which needs a full response... The Muslim ummah rejects the U.S. president's decision. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, and Jordan will need to play a full role for the restoration of the Islamic character of Jerusalem."[14] Ashrafi and other Islamic clerics released a declaration calling upon Muslim countries to stop the Trump move to shift the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and stated: "Jerusalem is not of the Palestinians only, but is the center of the Muslim ummah, where Christians too have holy places."[15]

Allama Aurangzeb Farooqi, the chairman of anti-Shi'ite group Difa-e-Sahaba and one of the leaders of the banned group Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, called for a protest march and said: "This is a step by Trump against Islam and Muslims... Under the [banner of] Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, today the Friday [December 8, 2017] will be marked as the 'Day for Defense of the First Qibla' against the Islam-enemy decision of the American president... To recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is tantamount to stabbing the Islamic world in the back. The current Islam-enemy president is pursuing the dangerous plan of stoking a war between the Crescent and the Cross..."[16]

In the Friday sermons on December 8 in the mosques under the control of Jamiat Ahle Hadith Pakistan, a religious group, imams condemned the Trump decision and expressed support for the Palestinians.[17] Addressing the worshippers at the Jamia Ibrahimia mosque in Lahore, Professor Sajid Mir, the emir of Jamiat Ahle Hadith Pakistan, said: "Trump's announcement... is mischief-mongering. The nations of the world, including the Islamic nations, have rejected it as a threat to peace. The U.S. president has proved through this announcement that he is practically under the influence of Zionists. America has always supported Israel to crush the Palestinians' struggle for freedom."[18] Mir said: "America has declaredly proved its enmity against Muslims. [It has] laid the foundation of conflict through this Satanic decision in the Middle East and Islamic world..."[19]

Abdul Lateef Khalid Cheema, the secretary general of Majlis Ahrar-e-Islam, a group theologically opposed to Ahmadi Muslims, told worshippers during the Friday prayers of December 8 at Jama Masjid Al-Falah in Karachi: "Qadianis [a pejorative term for Ahmadi Muslims] are causing damage to the Muslim ummah by being the pawn of Israel and America."[20] Abdul Hafeez Ma'arfi, a Karachi-based leader of the religious group Jamaat Ahle Sunnat Pakistan, told a protest rally in Karachi: "The U.S. announcement to establish its embassy in Jerusalem is a declaration of war against the Muslims of the world. Jerusalem belongs to Palestine and will remain so."[21]

Jamaat-e-Islami Leader Naeemur Rehman: "[The Trump Decision] Is Against The Entire Muslim Ummah And An Attack On The First Qibla"; We Stand By The Resistance Movement Of Hamas"; Jamaat-e-Islami Calls For Million Man March On December 17

Senator Sirajul Haq, the emir of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan who called for a countrywide protest against the U.S. and Israel on the Friday of December 8, stated in a press statement: "This announcement by America is tantamount to playing with fire due to which the world can be swept into war... The Islamic world considers Jerusalem to be the most sacred after Mecca and Medina. The Muslims of the entire world revere Al-Aqsa mosque."[22]

The Jamaat-e-Islami leader, addressing a women's rally organized by his party in Karachi, called for a Million March in Karachi on December 17 and stated: "Jerusalem is not an Arab-Israel problem. It is a problem of the world of Islam. Trump's decision is a declaration of open war against the Islamic world. The leaders of the Muslim world can be timid and indifferent, but the Muslim ummah is awake from Karachi to Jakarta. The [Saudi-led] military alliance of Muslim countries should clarify as to what purpose it has been established. We reject Trump's decision. Trump will prove to be America's Gorbachev [whose policy change lead to the disintegration of the USSR]."[23]

Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, the emir of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan for Karachi, told a protest rally in Karachi: "The decision by the U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is against the entire Muslim ummah and an attack on the First Qibla. We stand by the resistance movement of Hamas. The leaders of the Islamic world and the [Saudi-led] military alliance of the forty Islamic countries should step forward against this decision and play its role..."[24] Hafiz Naeemur Rehman added: "This announcement is not merely an attack on Jerusalem and continuation of its occupation. Rather, this is a part of Israel's plan for Greater Israel. We do not accept it in any way."[25]

Islamic Scholar Mufti Muhammad Naeem: "To Recognize Jerusalem As The Israeli Capital Is Trump's Declaration Of War Against The World Of Islam"; "America, By Becoming The Agent Of The Jewish Lobby, Is Pursuing A Policy Of Destroying All Muslim Countries"

Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabia, a board of Islamic seminaries in Pakistan, too condemned the U.S. decision in a statement issued by its President Maulana Dr. Abdur Razzaq Askandar, Maulana Muhammad Hanif Jalandhari, Maulana Anwarul Haq and Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani. According to a media report, these Islamic scholars said that Trump's decision "is tantamount to poring oil on fire. Not only the Islamic world, but also the justice-lovers of the world have rejected this announcement. The representative forums of the Islamic world should shoulder the responsibility of the Muslim ummah in the real sense."[26] Maulana Anwarul Haq Haqqani, the deputy chancellor of Darul Uloom Jamia Haqqania at Akora Khattak, said that Trump's decision "is an attempt to push the Muslim ummah toward war and a proof of enmity against Islam... The world of Islam will never tolerate this anti-Islam action of Trump."[27]

Maulana Samiul Haq, the leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) and the chancellor of Darul Uloom Jamia Haqqania, said: "The Israeli aggression against Jerusalem is a test for our rulers who consider it their achievement to stand shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. President Trump in the war against terrorism."[28] Maulana Samiul Haq, whose madrassa is known for producing the Taliban over the past few decades, questioned the Islamic scholars' view that jihad can only be authorized by the state, saying: "Those who link the declaration of jihad to a permission by an Islamic state, with which puppet Muslim ruler do they expect to do this? If President Trump has become successful in this shameless act, then we should also be concerned over the Holy Mosques [of Mecca and Medina]."[29] Maulana Samiul Haq made the statement at a prize distribution ceremony at his madrassa at Akora Khattak. Samiul Haq added: "The West's Islam-enemy forces and the liberal and secular intellectuals of Muslims are expressing their hatred of Islam in the name of the war on terrorism..."[30]

Mufti Muhammad Naeem, the chancellor of the Jamia Binoria Al-Alamia in Karachi, addressed a press conference after the Friday prayers of December 8, saying: "As a protest, Muslim rulers should expel the American diplomats from Muslim countries. [We] should carry out a social boycott of the Western countries, including America and Israel... To recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital is Trump's declaration of war against the world of Islam."[31] Mufti Naeem stated: "America first obtained the support of Muslim rulers and then made them fight against each other, and deriving advantage is now engaged in the completion of the Greater Israel project... The conspiracy to hand over Jerusalem to Jews is not acceptable to the Muslim ummah. America, by becoming the agent of the Jewish lobby, is pursuing a policy of destroying all Muslim countries."[32]

Resolution Of Pakistan's National Assembly: "This Assembly Considers The Shifting Of The U.S. Embassy From Tel Aviv To The Occupied Jerusalem As An Attack On The Muslim Ummah" – Former Military Ruler Gen. Musharraf: "Trump's Policies Are Pushing The World Toward Destruction"

General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former military ruler who lives abroad due to criminal charges against him in the Pakistani courts, condemned Trump, saying: "America should reconsider its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The American decision is sad for the Islamic world. U.S. President Donald Trump's policies are pushing the world toward destruction. Islamic countries should analyze the circumstances and evolve a joint strategy... The U.S. decision is against international laws."[33] Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said: "People like Trump do not consider Muslims as humans. Therefore, the entire world must rise up in protest against this decision."[34]

Khurshid Ahmed Shah, the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly of Pakistan, said: "The Muslim world must unite on a single platform regarding this issue so that an effective strategy can be adopted against the Islam-enemy steps of Donald Trump."[35] Shah, a leader of the Pakistan People's Party of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who declared Ahmadi Muslims to be non-Muslims in 1974 leading to the continuing persecution of the Ahmadi community in Pakistan, said: "Today we remember Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who played important roles for Palestine on the global front, and forced Israel to be on the defensive posture through the unity of the Muslim world."[36]

In a statement, Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister of Pakistan and the leader of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party, said: "The U.S. decision regarding Jerusalem is sad. The decision is a violation of international laws and the Muslim ummah including Pakistan. Trump's declaration is a violation of the policies of former American presidents too. The decision is a setback to international norms and the rule of law."[37] Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of Nawaz Sharif and chief minister of Punjab province, stated: "Trump's decision has made the old wounds fresh. [It] strengthens the Palestinians' lack of confidence in the Trump administration."[38] Muhammad Aslam Khattak, a Karachi-based leader of Sharif brothers' PML-N, said: "The entire Muslim ummah rejects Trump's announcement regarding Jerusalem... America has always been pursuing a policy of pushing Muslims into the fire of terrorism. And this decision has revealed its black face once again before the entire Muslim ummah... To support Israeli terrorism is part of America's black history. It is an enemy of Muslims, not a friend."[39]

The National Assembly, on December 7, adopted a resolution that stated: "This Assembly considers the shifting of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem as an attack on the Muslim ummah. This assembly condemns the American decision, which is a violation of international laws... America should immediately revert its decision."[40] The legislative assembly of Punjab, the most influential Pakistani province, adopted a resolution against the decision: "The U.S. decision has hurt the entire Muslim ummah. America's pro-Jewism policy has been exposed before the entire world... The UN should immediately take note of this decision of U.S. President Donald Trump. And the Islamic countries should immediately call a conference of Islamic countries [on this issue]."[41] The legislative assembly of Baluchistan province also adopted a resolution that condemned the U.S. decision, saying: "Not only will this destroy the peace of the world, rather one more inter-religious dispute will emerge..."[42]


[1] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[2] It should be noted that the U.S. has demanded that he be re-arrested.

[3] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2017.

[4] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[5] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[6] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[7] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[8] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[9] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[10] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[11] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[12] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[13] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[14] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[15] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2017.

[16] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[17] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[18] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[19] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[20] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[21] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[22] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 7, 2017.

[23] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[24] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[25] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[26] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[27] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[28] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[29] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[30] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 10, 2017.

[31] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[32] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[33] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[34] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[35] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[36] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[37] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[38] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[39] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

[40] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[41] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 8, 2017.

[42] Roznama Islam (Pakistan), December 9, 2017.

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