Thursday, 22 January 2015

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) - The Greatest Leader and Reformer

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): The Greatest
Leader, Reformer and Finality of Prophethood

Dr. Mozammel Haque

This is the month of Rabi al-Awwal when Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him came to this world and spread the message of Islam revealed to him by Archangel Jibrail. This year, I read three books on the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him), two by non-Muslim and one by a Muslim.

This is the month when the Union of Muslim Organisations of UK & Ireland (UMO OF UK & Eire) under the leadership of Dr. Syed Aziz Pasha, celebrated the day, without fail, for more than four decades organising a Seminar on the Life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him where ministers, political leaders, academics and Islamic scholars were invited to participate and speak on different aspects of Prophet’s life. After the demise of Dr. Pasha in 2011, The UMO still organised a Seminar on the Life of the Prophet at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London, last year in 2013 where a brilliant academic presentation “Love for the Prophet (peace be upon him) was made by Dr. Ahmed al-Dubayan, Director General of the Centre.

Unfortunately, this is the first time, in the 43 years of the UMO, when it failed to organise a regular seminar of its calendar on the day of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi when there is so much media debate, talks and discussions on the Prophet (peace be upon him).

However, during this month of Rabi al-Awwal, I usually used to read some books on the biography of the Prophet (PBUH) and write review of those books. This year, I started reading the book on Muhammad: Prophet For Our Time by Karen Armstrong, published by Harper Prerennial, London, 2006 and another book Muhammad (SAW): 1001 Universal Appreciations and Interfaith Understanding and Peace by Dr. Mohammed A. Lais, published by Zaitun Media Ltd., in 2014 and thought to write a review article on the basis of that. But as the media has written so much on the Paris cartoons, I thought it is better to present the life of the Prophet peace be upon him) from the writings of non-Muslim thinkers and statesmen.

At the beginning, I want to raise the following questions – Who is Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? In order to know that, we have to find answers to the following: i) what was the situation of Arabia when he was born? ii) . How he was treated by the Makkah people? iii) What was his reaction; whether he was violent and aggressive with them or he was tolerant and restraint? In the following passages I would like to find answers from the pens and writings of non-Muslim writers, statesmen, scholars, and thinkers.

As usual, there are some misunderstanding and misinterpretations about the life, works and message of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In this article, I would like to see through the pens and writings of some of the prominent non-Muslim thinkers, academics and scholars what they think about him.

Jahiliya Period
When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born, the condition of Arabia was described as Jahiliya. During this period, the situation of Makkah was described by Reverend Stephens as follows: “The vices most prevalent in Arabia in the time of Muhammad which are most sternly denounced and absolutely forbidden in the Qur’an were drunkenness, unlimited concubinage and polygamy; the destruction of female infants, reckless gambling superstitious arts of divination and magic.”

Prophecy of the coming of Prophet Muhammad
Peace be upon him
There were many sayings about the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and it was known to some well-versed scholars of the previous religions and scriptures. About one incident, Karen Armstrong wrote: “To reassure Muhammad, Khadijah consulted her cousin Waraqah, the hanif, who had studied the scriptures of the People of the Book and could give them expert advice. Waraqah was jubilant: Holy Holy! he cried, when he heard what had happened. “if you have spoken the truth to me, O Khadijah, there has come to him the great divinity who came to Moses aforetime, and lo, he is the prophet of his people.” The next time Waraqah met Muhammad in the Haram; he kissed him on the forehead and warned him that his task would not be easy.” (Karen, pages 47-48)

Prophet Muhammad endured pain
and mistreatment from others
After Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received revelation and he invited the Makkah people to accept the new religion, then the people of Makkah went against him and started badly treated him. How the Makkah people treated him, Karen Armstrong wrote: “Muhammad’s neighbors played disgusting tricks with a sheep’s uterus, thwacking him with it while he was at prayer, and once even dropping it into the family cooking pot. One day, a young Quraushi threw filth all over Muhammad while he was walking in the city. When his daughter Fatimah saw him in this state, she burst into tears. “Don’t cry my little girl,” Muhammad reassured her tenderly, while she tried to clean him up. “God will protect your father.” But to himself, he added grimly: “Quraysh treated me thus while Abu Talib was alive.” (Karen, page 89)

Similarly Leslay Hazleton mentioned, “As news spread of Abu-Lahab’s withdrawal of protection, the attacks on Muhammad became more pointed. Pails of dust were emptied over his head as he walked to the Kaaba precinct, and stones thrown at him when he tried to preach there. Even at home, he was at risk. As he sat in his own courtyard, someone threw sheep’s offal at him, splattering him with blood and gore. The specific organ hurled was the one distinctly female part of the animal, the uterus, making the insult all the more flagrant in a society based so strongly on male pride. It was clear that if Muhammad was not to live under virtual house arrest – in fact, if he was to survive – it was of paramount importance that he finds the protection of a clan leader.”

While Dr. N. K. Singh said, “People threw rubbish on his body and showered abuses. One particular lady adopted a novel technique: as the Prophet passed in front of her house every day, she threw rubbish, collected in her house, right on his body. This became such a regular practice that one day when rubbish was not thrown on him; he wanted ton know the reason for it. On enquiry, he learnt that the old lady was sick. He then went into the hollow, sat by the bedside of the lady, consoled her and prayed for her early recovery.”

Prophet never thought of revenge but
Showed greatest restraint
Dr. N. K. Singh also claimed, “The life of the Prophet (God’s blessings be on him) is an illustrious model for all Muslim to emulate. He has shown the greatest restraint in the preaching and practice of Islam. His life in Makkah was full of examples where he suffered without a protest. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) was subject to many hardships and personal injuries while he was preaching Islam in Makkah. His reaction to these was nothing short of the true exposition of non-violence.”

Rendered extensive service to humanity
Leo Tolstoy said, “Undoubtedly, the Prophet Muhammad is one of the greatest reformers who rendered extensive service to the human community. As an indication of his greatness, it suffices to mention that he guided an entire nation to the light of truth and made it incline to serenity and peace and opted to live a life of asceticism. He forbade acts of bloodshed or human sacrifice. He opened up for his nation the way to progress and civilisation. That was a great feat which nobody – no matter how powerful he may be – is able to achieve. Such a man, indeed, is highly respectable and estimable.”

Reverend Stephens compared Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) with Moses; both of whom revived a pure religion from their common father, Abraham. “For a confused heap of idolatrous superstitions he substituted a pure monotheistic faith; he abolished some of the most vicious practices of his countrymen, modified others; he generally raised the moral standard, improved the social condition of the people, and introduced a sober and rational ceremonial in worship.”

“The abolition of some of these evil customs and the mitigation of others, was a great advance in the morality of the Arabs, and is a wonderful and honourable testimony to the zeal and influence of the Reformer. The total suppression of female infanticide and of drunkenness is the most signal triumph of his work,” wrote Reverend Stephens.

Simplicity was his greatest power
Pierce De Lacy Henry Johnstone, a famous European author mentioned that simplicity was a great power of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “He visited the sick, followed every bier he met, accepted even a slave’s invitation to dinner, mended his own clothes, waited on himself. Never was he first to withdraw his hand from another’s, nor to turn away ere the other hand turned. His hand was the most generous, his heart the most courageous, his tongue the most truthful, staunchest was he of protectors, and sweetest in conversation; and he inspired all men with awe and reverence.’ He was taciturn of habit, yet playful with children but not given to jesting.”

On the other hand, Professor T.L Vaswami paid tribute to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for bringing huge reforms in the society. He mentioned, “And consider for a moment what the faith he preached has achieved. Islam has given the world a religion without priests; Islam abolished infanticide in Arabia; Islam enjoined on the faithful total abstinence from drink; Islam emphasized the great qualities of faith, courage, endurance and self-sacrifice.”

Golden words with regards to
neighbourly relations
“Apart from all those things which he preached to his followers he said some golden and charming words with regard to neighbourly relations. ‘Be kind to your neighbour. Draw the veil over him. Avoid injury to him, look to him with kindness. If you see him doing evil, forgive him. If you see him doing good to you, proclaim your thankfulness’. These are words to be treasured and the Man who said them should be weighed in gold,” said David De Santillan.

Prophet’s life style
Bosworth Smith writing about the simplicity and life style of the Prophet (peace be upon him) elaborated: “His ordinary dress was plain, even to coarseness; yet he was fastidious in arranging it to the best advantage. He was fond of ablutions, and fonder still of perfumes; and he prided himself on the neatness of his hair, and the pearly whiteness of his teeth. His life was simple in all its details. ….Ayesha is also our authority for saying that he did not get a sufficient meal. The little food that he had was always shared with those who were always to be found a number of the poor who lied entirely on the prophet’s generosity and were hence called the people of the bench. His ordinary food was dates and water or barley bread; milk and honey were luxuries of which he was fond, but which he rarely allowed himself.”

Similarly, The historian Edward Gibbon, like Bosworth Smith described: “The good sense of Mahomet despised the pomp of royalty; the apostle of God submitted to the menial offices of the family; he kindled the fire, swept the floor, milked the ewes, and mended with his own hands his shoes and his woollen garment. Disdaining the penance and merit of a hermit, he observed, without effort or vanity, the abstemious diet of an Arab and a soldier. On solemn occasions, he feasted his companions with rustic and hospitable plenty; but in his domestic life, many weeks would elapse without a fire being kindled on the hearth of the Prophet.”

Object of so much discussion, hate as well as love
In Spite of his so much service to humanity, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is an object of so much discussion since his time to today’s world. About this, Dr. Henry Stubbe, a British writer and scholar wrote in his book: “There is no man under heaven who has been the object of so much discussion, due either to extreme hatred or great love, as the Prophet Mohammed. Exalted in the East and discarded in the West, the Prophet has acquired a position which is difficult to define and for which it is impossible to find a parallel. He has been a central figure, to a large part of mankind, during the last thirteen centuries. His great enemies were the infidels of Makkah, but their hostility is as nothing compared to that shown by the Christian nations, which casts the story of the Jews and their detestation of Jesus entirely into the shade. It is a strange irony of fate that, Mohammad, who so manifestly honoured Isa and respected his teachings, has been made the object of the grossest abuse and the vilest calumny by the followers of Isa.”

Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, a French writer, poet and politician states that History is a testimony to the creation of empires and armies which after periods of existence met its demise. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was not only successful in these fields, but his real success lied in the ability to penetrate the hearts of men.

According to him, “If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astonishing results are the three criteria of a human genius, who could dare compare any great man in history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws, and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples, dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls.”

Need balanced approach to
Prophet’s life, says Karen Armstrong
 When international community praised and acknowledged Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for his personality, good moral character and non-violent policy, there is an animosity among some people who used all kinds of abuses against him as the people of Jahiliya used to do in the seventh century. Karen Armstrong wrote in the Introduction of her book mentioned earlier: “We have a long history of Islamophobia in Western Culture that dates back to the time of the Crusades. In the twelfth century, Christian monks in Europe insisted that Islam was a violent religion of the sword, and that Muhammad was a charlatan who imposed his religion on a reluctant world by force of arms; they called him a lecher and a sexual pervert. This distorted version of the Prophet’s life became one of the received ideas of the West, and Western people have always found it difficult to see Muhammad in a more objective light.” (pages 17-18).

Karen Armstrong also mentioned, “Western critics also persist in viewing the Prophet of Islam as a man of war, and fail to see that from the very first he was opposed to the jahili arrogance and egotism that not only fuelled the aggression of his time but is much in evidence in some leaders, Western and Muslims alike, today. The Prophet, whose aim was peace and practical compassion, is becoming a symbol of division and strife – a development that is not only tragic but also dangerous to the stability on which the future of our species depends.” (pages 22-213)

Ms Armstrong advised, “We must approach his life in a balanced way, in order to appreciate his considerable achievements. To cultivate an inaccurate prejudice damages the tolerance, liberality, and compassion that are supposed to characterize Western culture.” (page 18).

Present world needs leader like Prophet Muhammad,
(pbuh), says George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics (LSE) argued that the present world needs leaders like Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for the general peace and comfort. Shaw observed:” I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.”

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Masjid Al-Aqsa - Its Significance and Understanding

Masjid Al-Aqsa – Its Significance 
and Understanding

Dr. Mozammel Haque

On Monday, the 8th of December 2014 there was a discussion on the significance and importance of Masjid al-Aqsa and the situation and what is happening on the ground at Masjid al-Aqsa today. There were parliamentarians who spoke about what is happening there and what is the present situation in that region. The chair felt the need to bring the issue of Al-Aqsa to the heart of British politics; need to bring the issue of Masjid al-Aqsa and its significance to the heart of democracy the parliament today. He said, “We know what is happening in Jerusalem, what is happening to Al-Aqsa.”

Millions of Muslims in the UK and around the world share Palestinian concerns about increasing incursions and trespasses within the sacred Al-Aqsa sanctuary in Jerusalem. In recent months, Israel has taken a number of steps to undermine Palestinian sovereignty to the site, which is a place of enormous religious and cultural significance.

There are distinguished Members of Parliament who spoke about their opinions and also the chair of Masjid al-Aqsa who delivered his briefing on why Masjid al-Aqsa is significant and why it is important and also outline the political reality of what is current on the ground.

David Jones, MP
David Jones, Conservative Member of Parliament from Wales who recently returned from Jordan where he met a group of MPs and a group of Observers, visited refugee camps and had discussions with senior figures from the Jordanian Government including His Majesty the King Abdullah, his Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Interior Minister. He said, “It was very clear that the issue of Al-Aqsa was the predominant one that the Jordanian authority was considering at that time. I like to put the issue of Al-Aqsa in the context of what else I was doing during my period.”

Conservative Parliamentarian Jones visited refugee camps and speaking about his experience, he said, “We visited one Palestinian camp Higgins which has been established since the late 1940s,” Mr. Jones met one of the refugees who is 85-years old; and he was told that she has been refugee since the age of 19 years old.

Speaking about Al-Aqsa incursion, David Jones Conservative parliamentarian said, “The Hashemite Monarchy of course are regarded as the Custodian of the Al-Aqsa and there was no doubt at all in my mind that they regarded the incursion to that Al-Aqsa as a matter of serious as much serious for them as you probably know that they had withdrawn their ambassador from Israel. And that was regarded as a very significant step indeed because there had been provocations from large longer years when you regarded the most recently incursion such serious matter that they could not but rather  have to recall their ambassador. I think that was a very wise part of the Jordanian authorities.”

Parliamentarian Jones also said, “We had the horror of Gaza followed by the announcement that there are to be more Israeli settlement; constructed over West Bank and the more recently  had the announcement by the Israeli cabinet that they proposed to change the Constitution frankly and covertly reduce Palestinians what can be described as second class citizens within Israel. So there is continuing provocations on the part of Israel. And that will continue certainly until general elections.”

But MP Jones maintained, “However, there is optimistic sign; I think the most optimistic sign is the readiness of Parliaments right across Europe to recognise Palestinian statehood;  Sweden, Spain, most recently France and of course the House of Commons noted most recently to recognise the Palestinian Statehood. I hope similar vote would be in the European parliament shortly.”

Marcus Jones, MP.
Conservative MP from Nuneaton,  Marcus Jones, said, “I think you can all probably agree in this room some of the things that happened across the summer and some of the things that happened today have been disproportionate.”

He also said, “What I am thinking is to make sure that from this Parliament and from other Parliaments across Europe we might sign this and make loud and clear that we are not willing to accept this situation where this situation is consistently one way situation where the people of Palestine constantly under pressure and I hope to work with my constituency to put that view across towns and colleagues.”

Andy Slaughter MP from Hammersmith
Labour MP for Hammersmith Andy Slaughter, mentioned that we have identified some of the issues; the very key issues: the very changing, very dangerous situation in the occupied territories at the moment. He said, “I think the threat to Al-Aqsa is possibly the most serious threat potentially and one of the most, I think, one of the most understood least in the West and the restrictions on access for prayers that happened on end of October and equally along side that the effective siphoning of extremist settlers who want to go to the Haram Sharif to pray which is not something which is permitted and which is now happening I understand on daily basis.”

Labour MP Slaughter said, “This is the background what is happening on daily basis. This shows there has been quite a radical change in the outlook of the Israeli in particular over the time Netanyahu is in government this time.”

Parliamentarian Slaughter also mentioned about the settlement building. He said, “The fact that the settlement building goes on apace and living aside what happened in Gaza; the barbarity and attacking on civilians. This is happening every month, not on the same scale but the murder of Palestinians, in prison without trial; and the daily persecution that way and the besieged going on that is something not just constant which has the cumulative effect in that way. It is a powder cake mentality.”

Talking about what is happening in Jerusalem, MP Slaughter mentioned, “What is happening in Jerusalem itself gets worse and worse and particularly the attempt to Judaisation of Jerusalem; the inclusion and encircling the Jerusalem as well as the various attacks on the site of Al-Aqsa. This is now a consertive campaign and it reflects the extremism that brought up within the Israeli government.”

Labour MP Slaughter said he did not see any positive signs. He said, “I am afraid I don’t see many positive signs; you are absolutely right that the votes that are taking place across Europe including around the two places; they are absolutely important, particularly the votes at the House of Commons, given the baggage the UK has in relation to the Balfour Declaration under mandate and also the fact that we have under both the parties had very pro-Israeli government for the past generations here. That changed with the Labour party under Ed Miliband but it has also changed in other parties as well. We have 40 MPs voting for recognition and quite senior MPs as well in that way. Those are important; they are more than symbolic. We will have recognition and I am sure within a foreseeable future.”

Speaking about response, Mr. Slaughter said, “It is rather a half-hearted response. Nobody is talking about even for example banning settlement goods.”

Talking about the Settlements, MP. Slaughter said, “Settlements are illegal; they are illegal under international law; it is not about boycott; we have another discussion about boycott; this is about banning illegal projects; which by definition it is illegal. We are not even talking about today against the events I mentioned going on. Although I think there is now much great understanding; certainly among British people who are overwhelmingly able to understand the Palestinian cause even politicians are catching up; they sometimes do public opinion.”

But still there is disparity there. Andy Slaughter mentioned about the Jeremy Bowen programme, a good programme on olive trees. He said, “if you have heard the programme Jeremy Bowen programme yesterday; it’s a good programme on olive about the settler’s deliberate destruction of the olive trees, how Palestinian farmers cannot sustain themselves; but there are far more symbolic people; it is a good programme and if you listen to that programme you will have a pretty clear idea of Palestine but what it did not do; it did not make clear; it did not address this is only happening because of illegal occupation; it might have mentioned, I have not heard it.”

“Why it is happening;  that dimension, that overview situation; missing the political discourse; that’s why we have to keep talking about the issue in the House; that’s why we have to keep informing everyday to see whether justice is kept on line,” Labour MP Slaughter concluded.

Mr. Ismail Patel
Mr. Ismail Patel of chair of the Al-Aqsa explained the importance and the significance of Masjid Al-Aqsa and informed what is happening on the ground.  First of all Al-Aqsa what it is? Dome of Rock and finally how it explained and how it transpired into global arena and why it is possible for Israel to get away with.

Al-Aqsa is a piece of land
Ismail Patel first of all gave a brief description of Al-Aqsa. He said, “Al-Aqsa, contrary to lot of myths, it is not a building; Al-Aqsa is a piece of land; approximately 35 acres; it referred to in the media Temple Mount and within this piece of land, which we refer to as Al-Aqsa, there are four mosques, 40 domes; 11 water wells; 3 minars; and whatever within that complex, the Al-Aqsa sanctuary is known as Al-Aqsa mosque. The building of course, has four connotations, four significance and they have all relevant stood in the Islamic history era of the place of the region.”

Mr. Patel also mentioned about that piece of land blessed by God and which is for the whole of creation. He said, “When you talk about al-Aqsa the first thing you have to clear our mind with what we are talking about is a piece of land; a land which has been blessed, according to Muslims, by God for the whole of the creation. This is another very important factor ; there is no exclusive right to the Islamic teaching; that Islam is only blessed to a certain group of people; it is blessed for everybody; anybody who resides there and benefits from  it will ripe with the rewards.”

Dome of the Rock
Speaking about the Dome of Rock, Mr. Patel mentioned, “Within the Al-Aqsa complex and if you visit Jerusalem, the immediate picture on most of the people’s mind will be the beautiful magnificent enigmatic Dome of the Rock. This is in the centre of the Al-Aqsa complex; it was built in the 7th century; it was one of the longest historical buildings in the region that is in existence in use. We are talking about the heritage and the history that stretches back over a thousand years. This building which was built is an Islamic masterpiece  and it has captured minds not only of the believers but of scholars, archaeologists, poets, and it captured them because of magnificent and what it transpires, what it tells us, it is the testimony that Muslims love and devotion to Jerusalem. In fact, what Muslims tried to do is to encapsulate their love for Jerusalem through bricks and mortar.”

Why Muslims love Jerusalem
Mr. Patel spoke on why Muslims love Jerusalem. He went back to the Islamic heritage and mentioned, “Jerusalem has not only inspired Muslims because of the fact that it is mentioned in the Qur’an but it links Islamic heritage and history not only from the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) but from the time of the creation of mankind itself. We believe that when the first Man put on this planet he built two Houses of Worship created by God, one is in Makkah and the second one is in Jerusalem. Hence we see the heritage from the time of humanity. Thus those who belief in faith it eminence from Jerusalem and this brings Muslims very very close  whether  they are part and parcel of new modern day state of Palestine or not. It transcends modernity; it transcends nation-state; and it brings in humanity either because of its love of architecture, through its love of poetry, through its history or faith to Jerusalem and hence finally millions of Muslims, right of billions throughout the globe attached to Jerusalem and what happened to Palestine becomes significant.”

Palestine has a special place in the problems of the world. Mr. Patel said, “Despite all the problems that we have around the globe , Palestine finds a special place That I mentioned earlier, Jerusalem is not exclusive to Muslims; Muslims has never in its  history claim their sovereignty devoid of any other people. In fact, when substantially Muslims liberated Jerusalem; it was the Jewish people who ended their diasporas ended that started in 1718 Jewish who had been expelled by the Romans. So when Muslims came in 637 they allowed the Jewish people to return back. Thousands years of diasporas the exiled was ended by the Muslims. If you looked at the Judaize State within the first month of Muslims liberated Jerusalem, certainly 70 Jewish family for the first time started residing in Jerusalem.”
Liberation of Jerusalem for humanity
Patel spoke about the liberation of Jerusalem for humanity. He said, “The liberation of Jerusalem not for Muslims, not for the Palestinians but for the humanity. Everybody can enjoy Jerusalem. That should always remind all of us.  Also we understand Jerusalem is occupied; particularly East Jerusalem is occupied territory under the international law; under the UN Conventions, under the Geneva Conventions.  We even the British government does not accept Israel’s presence in east Jerusalem and within east Jerusalem the Masjid al-Aqsa.”

“But this military occupation has been aided and abetted by the dehumanised Palestinian people. And it has been done through linguistic through double speech through long words which is very important for us to understand,” mentioned Mr. Patel and added, “This language is extremely important. Palestinians are no longer humans; they are targets, death and killing and elimination under act of killing itself become normal. So we see this language and how it refers and how it transposed and how international community people like us, all parliamentarians.”

Sharing the Blessed place
Mr. Patel explained why he mentioned about language. He said, “Why I am mentioning to you about language; the reason I am mentioning about language; because now the extremist Israeli settlers talk about sharing the Masjid al-Aqsa. How noble. Why don’t we share the blessed place Masjid al-Aqsa? How blessed place has got into We want to share it; Share what? Share an occupied territory? That is illegal under international law; that is not belonged to Israeli under any circumstances. This is what they wish. Share what? Let look at the Ibrahimi Mosque al-Khalili in Hebron. This happened in couple of years ago. They said; just share it, just split in half and then they say on our holiday Muslims cannot come. And then now today Muslims cannot use it even on Friday. That is what sharing left.”

What is going to happen to Al-Aqsa
Mr. Patel said, “This language in the history is important. Masjid al-Aqsa has been mentioned by almost all the speakers I think this war has been pushing too far. Because what is going to happen; in the history of Palestine; it has happened before; when Al-Aqsa was lost. It galvanised not only the people of the region but without an exaggeration, the people of the globe and we have also the mirror in front of us when the Crusaders came in they destroyed the holy sites of Muslims and the Jewish people; and it took Salahuddin Ayubi to liberate it and liberated it again for what? And I want to put it. They liberated it for humanity. Christians are allowed to respite despite the Crusaders and definitely the Jewish people are allowed to come back.”

Concluding his speech in a negative tone, Mr. Patel said, “Now under the Zionist occupation of Jerusalem, particularly the Masjid al-Aqsa, we have the reverse situation; when the Christians are suffering and the Muslims are suffering. And I have mentioned now; two-state solution is not talked about. If they do not talk about two-state solution, then the world will have left with no option but to move forward and therefore it is imperative for the Members of Parliament here those who have joined pass the message .to make sure the people do understand; make your friend understand that the way forward is to respect and that respect comes from acknowledging the right of the people; until and unless that comes, the problem will be there.”

Palestine Election Pledge
At the end of the event, the following Palestine Election pledge was announced:
My voting decision in the general election in May 2015 will depend on the candidate’s (PPC) position on Palestine.

“I will be more likely to vote for a candidate to become an MP who:
1. Calls for an end of the siege of Gaza.
2. Calls for the protection of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem against extremist Israeli settler attacks.
3. Calls for the immediate and unconditional end to the occupation.”