Thursday 13 June 2024 - 08:59

Silencing the Voice of Gaza in ‘House of God’

Story Code : 1141471
Silencing the Voice of Gaza in ‘House of God’
The Hajj pilgrimage is a powerful symbol of unity and solidarity among Muslims.
The plight of people in the Gaza Strip has attached considerable significance to this year’s rituals which will officially begin on Friday.
Global support for Palestinians 
Since Israel launched war on Gaza, Muslims around the world have expressed outrage over the regime’s crimes in the besieged Palestinian territory. 
Non-Muslims have also joined Muslims in many countries to vent their anger at Israel’s barbaric atrocities. 
The US, Canada, Europe, Australia and other countries have seen huge protests against Israel’s brutal onslaught on Gaza over the past eight months which has claimed the lives of more than 37,000 Palestinians. 
Solidarity with Gazans 
The Hajj could be an opportunity to throw a spotlight on cold-blooded savagery of the Israeli regime against Palestinians in Gaza. 
Muslims want to seize this opportunity to increase global pressure on Israel to stop its war of genocide against Palestinians. 
Political slogans?
Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia has poured cold water on any efforts that are aimed at highlighting the pain and suffering of oppressed Palestinians and expressing solidarity with them. 
Last week, Saudi Arabia's minister in charge of religious pilgrimages, said there is no place for “political slogans” in Hajj.
“Hajj is for worship and not for any political slogans, and this is what the leadership of the kingdom want to ensure - that Hajj contains the highest manifestations of humility, tranquility and spirituality," Tawfiq al-Rabiah told reporters in Riyadh.
Ignoring genocide 
His comments sparked outrage on social media. Social media users have accused the Kingdom of turning a blind eye to the Israeli genocide in Gaza. 
"Protest or performance is bound to happen by individuals or groups of pilgrims, and Saudis understand this is a slippery slope,” Umer Karim, an expert on Saudi politics at the University of Birmingham said, according to AFP. 
He added, "Thus for Saudi rulers conducting hajj is a matter of prestige but also a test of their governance."
Madawi al-Rasheed, a Saudi academic and opposition figure based in London also said, "The Saudis will increase their control over the pilgrims to prevent any mobilization around support for Gaza. It remains to be seen whether the pilgrims will respect Saudi wishes."
Appeasing criminals 
Undoubtedly, protests against Israel’s brutalities in Gaza will not only raise eyebrows in Tel Aviv but also in Washington. 
That’s why Saudi Arabia tries to prevent Hajj pilgrims from expressing their support for Palestinians. 
In others words, in the eyes of Saudis opposing genocide and shedding light on the ethnic cleansing of Gazans amounts to political activity. 
But, remaining silent on massacres perpetrated against defenseless civilians is against the teachings of Hajj. 
Normalization over ethics
Saudi Arabia has tried to depict itself as the defender of the rights of Palestinians. The Kingdom, however, was considering establishing formal diplomatic ties with Israel before October 7. But, it had to suspend its normalization plans due to global outcry over the Israeli carnage in Gaza. 
Palestinians have described normalization of ties between Arab states and Israel as a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and their cause.  
People in the Arab world are also opposed to the establishment of relations with the apartheid regime. 
Presently, Saudi Arabia has barred any activities during Hajj that may undermine future ties between the Kingdom and Israel. 
This clearly shows that regardless of the mass massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, Saudi leaders will not abandon normalization plans with Israel.  
Arab countries that have normalized relations with Israel or those that are seeking to do so are complicit in the Israeli crimes against Palestinians.