For decades, the situation in Palestine has been promoted as an "Arab" issue, or a "Palestinian" issue, and Muslims have, by and large, gone along with this charade. Such a belief gas proven fatal as the Zionists have succeeded in further dividing the opposition to their occupation of Palesine, with the inevitable weaknesses that implies. And yet, paradoxiically, with the latest "peace treaties", between themselves and Jordan, and with the Palestinians of Yasser Arafat's Palestine National Authority (sic), the Zionists have brought into the open what should have been obvious all along. Palestine is an Islamic Issue, and Muslims all over the world have a duty to care about what is going on. Failure to do so, to dismiss it as yet another nationalistic or regionl flash point best left alone, is tantamount to surrendering the land of Al-Isra wal Mi'raj to Zionist control. Why? Consider the evidence. Who are now promoted as the demons of the case, the "enemies of peace" as they have been dubbed by the world's politicians and media? The Muslims. Under whose rule did peace actually exist in the Holy land, with Muslims, Christians and Jews alike sharing the land in harmony? The Muslims'. Who are persecuted mercilessly by those self-same "peace-loving" regimes? The Muslims! How much more evidence do we need before we wake up to what is really happening? We have heard how King Hussein of Jordan has been "guaranteed his right" to be the guardian of Al-Aqsa, usurping Arafat's tenuous and preposterous claim to that honour. And yet what sort of guardian allows his ward to be occupied and desecrated by hostile forces? Politics is a dirty business, especially in the international arena. It is one of the worst-kept secrets that King Hussein has been a regular visitor to Israel over the years for talks with the Israeli government. He has also met Israeli leaders in London and other world capitals on many occasions. It would be interesting to know, therefore, exactly what deals have been agreed behind closed doors leading to the treaty between Israel and Jordan. When it is remembered that neither Arafat nor Mubarak were inveted to the signing ceremony two points emerge for consideration. One, any remain- ing notion of Arab unity is exposed as a myth, since the three musketeers- Hussein, Arafat and Mubarak now follow the motto "all for none and one for one" Second, the Israelis are mastering the art of divide and conqure, and it is not too difficult to see who is doing both the dividing and the ruling. Ever since the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia declared "Jihad" against the Zionists, saying that Muslims should only travel to Al-Aqsa with the intention of liberating it, the third holiest place of Islam has been virtually abandoned by the Muslims. Occasional visits by Muslims from South Africa (who have never needed visas to visit "Israel", the apartheid and now post apartheid regime being almost indisinguishable from the Zionists), and some from Europe and the USA, hardly demonstrate much enthusiasm for the Prophet's advice (upon whom be blessing and peace): "Muslims should only undergo the hardships of a journey to visit three mosques - the Haram Sharif in Makkah, Madinah and Masjid Al-Aqsa." This has played right into the hands of the Zionists whose aim is to destroy Al-Aqsa and build their temple in its place. Anyone who doubts this should study the recent history of attacks on the site, and the excavations carried out by the Israelis in the name of "archaeology" but which are in reality intended to destabilise ancient buildings. So the fewer Muslims there the better as far as they are concerned. While Muslims from outside Palestine stay away voluntarily, the Muslims of Palestine are prevented by force from attending to their daily prayers at the mosque. How can the worldwide Ummah accept this? How can we sit back and watch while western lackeys like Hussein and his kind bargain away the first Qiblah? How can we prepare to face Allah and His Messenger (upon whom be blessings and peace) on the Day of Judgement, Knowing that we did nothing to protect the site of his miraculous night journey and ascension? We have already seen the annexation of Muslim land and mosques; places of wor- ship have been turned into night clubs, bars and police stations. Not content with partitioning the land, the Zionists have done the same to Masjid Ibrahimi in Al-Khalil; most of the mosque is now a synagogue. Even the media has played its role, with Masjid Ibrahimi referred to as the "Tomb of the Patriarchs", leading people to believe that a mosque was never there in the first place. Can we stay quiet much longer? Remember, if Al-Aqsa was not important, surely Allah could have taken the Prophet to the heavens straight from Makkah; there was no immediate need to make the trip to Jerusalem first, unless it was inten- ded to be a place of vital importance for Muslims. And it is. Palestine is the land of the prophets (peace be upon them all), the land where many of the Prophet's companions (may Allah be pleased with them) lived and died. The soil is soaked with Muslim blood in defence of human rights. Can we really accept that occupation of that land is an "Arab issue" or a "Palestinian issue"? Even if every single Arab in the area was a non-Muslim, we have a duty to protect Al-Aqsa and the surrounding land. The place has been crucial to the Ummah in the past, and it has a crucial role to play in the future; even a cursory reading of the Ahadith shows this quite clearly. Imam Mahdi (peace be upon him), the second coming of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and the final reckoning with Dajjal, Gog and Magog, are all going to take place in and around Al-Aqsa. It is that important. For Muslims to ignore these facts is a criminal dereliction of our duty and we do so at our peril. Everywhere in the world, Muslims are under attack: Bosnia, Kashmir, Algeria, Afghanistan, Somalia... the list is long and the calls upon our resources of time, effort and money are many. But Palestine cannot simply be ignored. It is the most important of all these places and cannot be abandoned in the name of a false "peace". Peace without Justice is no peace at all. Apart from anything else, Masjid Al-Aqsa is a verse of the Holy Qur'an. Are we really saying, "O Allah! We don't want this verse, let the Zionists have it"? May Allah forgive us! We cannot rest until Al-Aqsa is free, and we must let our leaders know this. As long as oppression continues in the Holy Land, whether it be from the Zionists or their puppets, Muslims must stand firm, holding fast to thed Qur'an and Sunnah. If we do not, then Allah alone knows what awaits us.
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