1st October 2000
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and Friends Al Aqsa condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of innocent worshippers in the Haram Sherif, Jerusalem, over the last two days. We view the criminal slaughter of tens of Muslims and wounding of over five hundred other Palestinians as a direct attack upon all Muslims. We call upon Israel to desist from further wanton shedding of Muslim blood and desecration of our Holy Sanctuaries.
Such was the exceptional editorial published by the Express on Friday the 25 September. The banner headline on the front page of the previous day’s Express shouted:
The MCB further deplores the current Israeli attempt to impose by force a fait accompli upon the Palestinian negotiators concerning Jerusalem. We maintain our principled and unchanging stand that Jerusalem is the collective heritage of all Muslims and hence its future cannot be negotiated.
The MCB further holds the government of Ehud Barak directly responsible for this latest massacre of innocent worshippers in Al Aqsa Mosque. It sanctioned the intrusion into the Sanctuary by Ariel Sharon, the mastermind of the Sabra and Shatila massacres. The bloody consequence of this premeditated provocation was both predictable and avoidable knowing Sharon’s long history of persecution of the Palestinians.
Last two days massacre was not the first committed in the Haram Sherif and other mosques in occupied Palestine. This follows the recent massacre of worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994 and the 1996 murder of Muslims after the opening of the tunnel beneath the Aqsa Mosque. As an Occupying Authority, Israel is obliged under international law to protect the people of the occupied territories. By facilitating their murder, the Israeli government has itself become an accomplice in a war crime. Its leaders must, therefore, be brought to justice before an international war tribunal.
We call upon the British government to take all necessary measures toward this end and condemn this latest Israeli atrocity.
Finally, we affirm that international peace and stability would remain an illusive goal without the full recognition and respect for Muslim rights over Jerusalem.