December 15, 2017 Special Dispatch No. 7232

Reactions Of UK-Based Pakistani Islamic Clerics, Community Leaders To Trump's Recognition Of Jerusalem As Israel's Capital

December 15, 2017
Pakistan, Palestine, United Kingdom | Special Dispatch No. 7232

In Bristol, Rana Basharat Ali Khan, a senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N for UK), joined a protest rally against the U.S. (Image: Roznama Ausaf, December 12, 2017.)

On December 6, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S.'s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said that the U.S. Embassy would be moved there from Tel Aviv. Jerusalem – or Bait Al-Maqdas – is viewed by Muslims as the First Qibla, the direction towards which Muslims turned in prayer before Mecca acquired this religious status. In terms of religious importance, Jerusalem now occupies the third place, after the Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina.

Trump's decision has sparked protests in the Islamic world, including in Pakistan. Islamic clerics and political leaders of Pakistani origin based in the U.K. condemned the U.S. move regarding the status of Jerusalem. This paper reviews the reactions of these Islamic clerics and community leaders to the U.S. decision.

Islamic Clerics Of UK: "This Step Of President Trump Is The Expression Of Open Enmity Against The Muslim Ummah"; "Trump Recognized Jerusalem As Israel's Capital Under The Influence Of Jewish Lobby"

According to a press statement issued in London, imams of mosques, Sufi mystics, and Islamic clerics associated with the religious group Jamaat Ahle Sunnat UK and the Overseas Trust condemned Trump's decision and decided to organize a day of protest "in the mosque across the UK."[1] As per the press statement, "the Islamic scholars said... that this decision has once again brought out the American president's enmity against Islam."[2] These Islamic scholars included: Pir Syed Abdul Qadir Geelani, Syed Ahmed Hussain Tirmizi, Pir Syed Munawwar Husain Jamaati, Qazi Abdul Aziz Chishti, Syed Anwar Hussain Kazmi, Mufti Muhammad Khan Qadri, Mufti Abdur Rehman Naqshbandi, Ghulam Jeelani Al-Azhari, Allama Arif Hussain Saeedi, Qari Nazir Ahmed Mehrvi, Muhammad Rafiq Chishti, Syed Mazhar Husain Geelani, Sufi Muhammad Hussain Qadri, Tariq Mehmood Qadri, Junaid Alam Qadri, Sajid Lateef Qadri, and others.

The Friday, religiously significant for weekly prayers, of December 8 was observed as "Al-Quds Day" in the mosques of the United Kingdom by Jamiat Ulema-e-Bartania. According to a statement issued in the town of Wakefield, Islamic scholars associated with the religious group said: "Al-Aqsa Mosque is the First Qibla of the Muslim ummah and the center of their faith and love. President Trump's move is condemnable and is an attempt to push the world once again into fire. The dream of peace in the Middle East will be destroyed by his decision. Standing by the entire world, the American public should unite and raise their voice against President Trump's decision. At present, the entire world stands on one side, and President Trump and Israel on the other. This step of President Trump is the expression of open enmity against the Muslim ummah."[3]

Al-Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day, was started by Iran and is observed on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan every year. The Islamic clerics who marked December 8 as Al-Quds Day in the British mosques included: Mufti Muhammad Aslam, Qari Muhammad Ismail, Maulana Islam Ali Shah, Maulana Aslam Zahid, Maulana Imdadullah Qasmi, Hafiz Muhammad Ekram, Qari Ghulam Nabi, Maulana Mohammad Naeem Swati, Maulana Qari Shamsur Rehman, Mufti Abdul Wahab, Maulana Idrees, Maulana Abdur Rasheed Rahmani, Qari Muhammad Tayyab Abbasi, Maulana Khalid Hussain, Mufti Tariq Ali Shah, Maulana Rasheed Raja, Qari Mohammad Niaz, Mufti Bilal Shah, Maulana Umer Farooq, Maulana Mukhtar Ali Shah, Qari Inamul Haq, Maulana Shah Rafiuddin, Hafiz Azhar, Hafiz Umer Farooq, Hafiz Anwer, and others.

In Huddersfield, a group of Islamic clerics issued a joint statement condemning the U.S. decision. It stated that Trump's announcement "has become the cause of the promotion of terrorism and stoking of extremism and violence. The sooner this unwise and foolish decision is taken back, the better it will be in the interests of America."[4] The signatories belonged to the religious organization Jamiat Ulema-e-Bartania – the Assembly of Islamic Scholars of Britain. These Islamic clerics included: Maulana Syed Asad Mian Shirazi, Maulana Muhammad Aslam Okarvi, Maulana Qari Abdur Rasheed, Maulana Syed Jamal Badshah Geelani, Maulana Qari Shah Husain Al-Husaini, Maulana Ehsanul Haq Mir, Mufti Muhammad Taqi, Maulana Muhammad Shafiq, Maulana Muhammad Ahsan, Maulana Younus Khan, and Maulana Muhammad Hamid Khan.

In Bradford, Islamic clerics of the religious group Jamaat Ahle Hadith said: "Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital under the influence of the Jewish lobby... Jerusalem does not belong only to the inhabitants of Palestine, but is the center of the Islamic ummah and the Islamic world's First Qibla."[5] Maulana Habibur Rehman, a top cleric associated with the group, said: "The Islamic world needs to immediately unite and form an alliance against America and Israel. Otherwise, they will snatch from Muslims even their right to live." Similar statements were issued by the religious group's Islamic clerics based in different towns: Maulana Hafiz Hamoodur Rehman Sharqpuri in Manchester, Maulana Shafiqur Rehman Shaheen in Oldham, Maulana Muhammad Idrees Madani in Glasgow, Maulana Hafeezullah Khan in Birmingham, Hafiz Matiur Rehman in Sheffield, Hafiz Zubair Ahmed in Rochdale, Hafiz Sharifullah Shahid in Bradford, Maulana Abdur Rehman in Derby, Maulana Zakaria Saud in Huddersfield, Qari Abdullah Hamid in Cardiff, and so on.[6]

In Birmingham, noted Sufi mystic Pir Sultan Niazul Hassan Qadri told a dinner meeting: "The Muslim ummah should unite and contest the international conspiracies. International conspiracies [against Islam and Muslims] are at the peak... America has tried to stoke the sentiments of Muslims by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital."[7] The dinner meeting was held to celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad. The attendees included religious leaders such as Syed Zafarullah Shah, Allama Haji Nayyar Asim, Allama Qari Shabbir, and others. At another event, speaking in the Jamaa Masjid Haroonia of Birmingham, Sufi mystic Safdar Hussain Harooni, condemned the Trump decision and said: "It is time for the Muslim ummah to forge a unity and alliance, and work at the diplomatic and war fronts."[8]

British MP Naz Shah: "The Muslims Of The Entire World Will Sacrifice Their Everything, Body, And Soul, For The Defense Of First Qibla Of Jerusalem"

In Bradford, Naz Shah, a member of the British parliament, said in an interview: "The First Qibla of Jerusalem can never be accepted as Israel's capital at America's behest. The Muslims of the entire world are enraged at this announcement by the American president. Muslims have a spiritual relationship with the First Qibla and will never allow it to be harmed. The Muslims of the entire world will sacrifice their everything, body, and soul, for the defense of the First Qibla of Jerusalem."[9] The rest of her interview was focused on the Kashmir issue. In the town of Bristol, an anti-U.S. protest was organized where members of different religious groups joined. Rana Basharat Ali Khan, the senior deputy president of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N for UK) party, and others of Pakistani origin joined the protesters.[10]

British MP Naz Shah during the interview (Image: Roznama Ausaf, December 12, 2017.)

In Leeds, leaders of the Awami Workers Party for North Britain issued a statement condemning the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. These leaders included: Professor Mohsin Zulfiqar, Zakir Hussain Advocate, Pervez Fatah, Rasheed Ahmed Sarabha, Zafar Malik, Anees Haider Zaidi, Lala Mohammad Yun, Nazar Hussain Sami, and others. According to a media report, these leaders called Trump's announcement: "a condemnable attempt to push the developing countries into a new war... This is an open violation of international laws and established rules that will damage the struggle against the imperialist occupation of Palestine... The military alliance established under the leadership of Saudi Arabia and the Pakistani government should refrain from following the U.S. line [on this issue]."[11]

In Watford, outside London, Professor Liaqat Ali Khan, a central leader of Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), told reporters: "Every [speck of] dust of Jerusalem belongs to Palestinians. The UN... resolutions on Palestine, including Jerusalem, are clear that Israel has forcible occupation on these areas... This move will cause damage to the talks between Israel and Palestinians and to the establishment of a Palestinian state."[12] Syed Nasir Jaafri, a prominent community leader, said: "Due to these nearsighted decisions by President Trump, hatred against America will increase in the world."[13] Zubair Malik, a leader of the Islamic Society of Britain, said: "Unfortunately, the situation of Muslims at present is such that when a powerful country crushes Muslims, its graph [i.e. status] rises among the Islam-enemy forces."[14] 

In Bradford, Shahnaz Siddiq, a leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI – women's and overseas wings), and Khaliq Mahmood Khaliq, a former media advisor to the president of Pakistani Kashmir, issued a joint statement. It stated: "The First Qibla is part of our faith. Trump should take back his decision. Otherwise, the Muslims of the entire world will rise up against America, whose name and sign will be obliterated from this world."[15] They said: "Trump's decision is a support to an international terrorist state, and a challenge and a moment of concern for Muslims. Palestine is the sacred land of Muslims... Now, Muslim countries should unite and raise their voice against the Jewish lobby. The alliance of the Jewish lobby is a serious threat to the peace of the world."[16]

Pakistani Community Leader Mohammad Ghalib: "Due To America's Puppet Rulers Imposed On Muslim Countries, America Has Mustered The Courage [To Recognize Jerusalem]"

In Birmingham, Mudassir Baseer, the secretary of the Pakistan Rabta Council for the Midlands, said: "Trump is making preparations for a war in the Middle East. The objective behind the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the move to shift the U.S. Embassy there is to inflame sentiments among Muslims so that there can be instability in the [Middle East] region which will open a market for American weapons."[17] Baseer also questioned the silence of the recently established Saudi-led military alliance of Islamic countries, saying: "In the current circumstances, what the military alliance will do is its big test."[18] In London, leaders of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP – UK and Europe) condemned the U.S. move. According to a report, Chaudhary Altaf Shahid, the PSP president, and other leaders said in a joint statement: "This move by the American president is a dirty conspiracy against the Muslim ummah. The American move is an open violation of international laws."[19]

In Nottingham, Raja Farooq Akhtar, a leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP – UK), condemned Trump, saying: "This is Trump's big conspiracy against Muslims for which Trump wants to use Israel. The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a big tactic. Muslims need to unite so that they can fight against this conspiracy."[20] In Birmingham, Inamul Haq, a senior leader of the Jammu and Kashmir People's National Party, issued a statement in which he raised concerns about Kashmir and Palestine. Inamul Haq said: "Trump's announcement... is condemnable which has once against put the peace of the Middle East in danger."[21] Comparing Kashmir and Palestine, he also said that the world comes out in support of Palestinians, but not the Kashmiris, because the Palestinians have retained their leadership in their own hand, meaning that the Kashmiri leaders work at the behest of Pakistan.[22]

A report in Roznama Jang of December 8, 2017, on the reaction of Pakistani community leaders.

In Scotland, Raja Abid, the president of the Pakistan Social Club in Edinburgh, said: "Israel, America, and India have forged an axis between them. It's not far that after Jerusalem, President Trump may give an unexpected statement about Kashmir."[23] Mohammad Ghalib, the president of Tehreek-e-Kashmir Europe, condemned the Trump decision and observed: "Due to America's puppet rulers imposed on Muslim countries, America has mustered courage [to recognize Jerusalem]. And America has always used Muslims for its objectives. America had a big hand in the establishment of Israel and America is also the obstacle in resolving the Palestinian issue. And by forging an alliance together with a terrorist like [Indian Prime Minister] Narendra Modi, world peace is being destroyed [by Trump]."[24] Ghalib added: "The Palestine and Kashmir are two issues on which America has always used its veto power [at the UN], strengthening the Israeli and Indian occupation..."[25]

In Glasgow, Councillor Haneef Raja, the deputy lord provost of Glasgow, condemned the U.S. decision, saying: "[Trump's] unilateral decision damages the efforts for a two-state solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian issue]. It seems that President Trump, together with the Zionists, wants to impose a one-state solution that will destroy the peace in the region."[26] Mirza Ameen, president of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) for Scotland, said: "Jerusalem is an extremely sacred city for all three heavenly religions [Judaism, Christianity and Islam]. By his decision, President Trump has caused a new dispute in the region."[27]


[1] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 9, 2017.

[2] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 9, 2017.

[3] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 9, 2017.

[4] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 11, 2017.

[5] Roznama Jang (UK), December 9, 2017.

[6] Roznama Jang (UK), December 9, 2017.

[7] Roznama Jang (UK), December 9, 2017.

[8] Roznama Jang (UK), December 10, 2017.

[9] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 12, 2017.

[10] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 12, 2017.

[11] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 9, 2017.

[12] Roznama Jang (UK), December 7, 2017.

[13] Roznama Jang (UK), December 8, 2017.

[14] Roznama Jang (UK), December 8, 2017.

[15] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 11, 2017.

[16] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 11, 2017.

[17] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 9, 2017.

[18] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 9, 2017.

[19] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 9, 2017.

[20] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 11, 2017.

[21] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 11, 2017.

[22] Roznama Ausaf (UK), December 11, 2017.

[23] Roznama Jang (UK), December 8, 2017.

[24] Roznama Jang (UK), December 8, 2017.

[25] Roznama Jang (UK), December 8, 2017.

[26] Roznama Jang (UK), December 8, 2017.

[27] Roznama Jang (UK), December 8, 2017.

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