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South Africa: Muslim leaders voice solidarity with Palestine in new conflict with Israel

Muslims, Al Quds mosque   -  
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South Africa

Several hundred members of the Muslim community in Cape Town have joined the solidarity with Palestinians as islamist movement Hamas launched the biggest attack on Israel in years on Saturday. The gathering to voice support for the Palestinian people was held on Sunday at the Al Quds mosque, Cape Town.

"Recently, we saw how the Zionists act against Christians, so it is not only a muslim issue. It’s a matter of human rights. It’s a matter of where the rights of others are being violated and to the extent where they cannot live freely their religion" says Moulana Abdul Khaliq Ebrahim Allie, President, United Ulema Council South Africa.

The attack, a surprise assault combined gunmen from the palestinian Hamas crossing the border with a heavy barrage of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government has formally declared war and launched significant retaliatory military steps.

"South Africa's liberation movement "was also forced... to take up arms to have an impact" said Shaykh Shahid Esau, a former member of the South African parliament.

During the apartheid era, "the world community was called on to have sanctions against South Africa and we find the very same Western countries that supported South Africa during the apartheid regime...they are the very same people that are now supporting Israel against the Palestinian people," he added.

The South African government on Sunday called for an immediate cessation of violence between Israel and Palestine. 

“South Africa expresses its grave concern over the recent devastating escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said in a statement Saturday night.

“The new conflagration has arisen from the continued illegal occupation of Palestine land, continued settlement expansion, desecration of the Al Aqsa Mosque and Christian holy sites, and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people” the statement added.

Some 1,100 people have been killed in Israel and Gaza following the large-scale assault by the militant group Hamas that started early Saturday.

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