For the first time in more than three decades, the holidays of Passover, Easter and Ramadan coincided, with billions of faithful around the world celebrating these holy days to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
For the vast majority of adherents across the globe, these festivities passed peacefully, but not everywhere.
A few days before Easter and Passover, in the ancient biblical city of Schechem, also known in Arabic as Nablus, Joseph’s Tomb, an ancient Jewish site believed to be the burial place of the biblical Joseph, was desecrated – for the third time in 22 years – by a mob of Palestinians who attempted to set the tomb ablaze. Not surprisingly, this issue was ceremoniously ignored by our media.
And in Jerusalem, a holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, the confluence of religious holidays was marked by Palestinian-Arab rioters in Jerusalem with the launching of incendiary devices and rocks towards Jewish worshipers, and violent altercations with Israeli police officers.
Shockingly, there were images of Palestinian rioters stockpiling rocks inside the Al Aqsa mosque – Islam’s third holiest site – to be used as weapons. The flag of Hamas – an Islamist terrorist group based in Gaza – was also seen displayed inside the mosque.
In contrast to the Palestinian territories, in Jerusalem, as Israel’s capital, people of all faiths have the freedom to worship, and in fact, since 1967, the Temple Mount’s Islamic edifices have been managed by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, an Islamic trust.
Against this backdrop of the abuse of Islamic holy sites by Palestinian extremists, one might have expected to see widespread condemnation by Canadian Muslim organizations against this appalling desecration and defilement of a sacred holy site. One organization, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), published a condemnation, but rather than pointing the finger at the Palestinian perpetrators who committed the violence, it opted to blame Israel.
In an eblast and social media campaign sent on April 15, the NCCM wrote: “Earlier this morning, as hundreds were completing fajr prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque, Israeli soldiers attacked with rubber bullets, stun grenades and beatings with police batons. 150 worshippers were injured.”
NCCM’s campaign claimed that (emphasis added): “With impunity, Israeli forces violated the internationally recognized sanctity of the Al Aqsa Mosque, one of the most sacred sites for Muslims worldwide. They attacked Palestinian worshippers as they prayed peacefully during Ramadan. This pattern of attacks during Ramadan every year in the recent past are an egregious violation of international law and must be condemned. This heartless assault during Ramadan by Israeli forces on one of the most inviolable sites for Muslims, and their flagrant violation of the human rights of Palestinians under international law, must be categorically condemned.”
This telling of events is an astounding attempt at warping the truth. In actuality, the Al Aqsa Mosque – which sits atop the Temple Mount – was being used as a staging ground for the lobbing of rocks and incendiary fireworks at Jewish worshipers in the Western Wall plaza below. Additionally, these rioters physically attacked Israeli police patrolling the Temple Mount.
It was for precisely this reason that Israeli riot police entered the mosque, and it was there that they discovered a large cache of rocks and fireworks, aimed to be used in violent attacks.
Scroll for pictures of Palestinian rioters at Al-Aqsa Mosque
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For several weeks, Israel has tried to work with relevant authorities to prevent violence at this holy time and despite the rioting, ensured that 60,000 Palestinian-Arabs could pray at Al Aqsa after the morning riots.
The NCCM eblast continued by claiming the same occurred last year: “This has happened before. Just last year in Ramadan 2021, Israeli forces came into Al Aqsa Mosque in clear violation of international human rights law. Then came the devastating war that followed.”
In 2021, during the Hamas-led war against Israel, the Al Aqsa Mosque was used by Palestinian extremists as a staging ground for violent attacks against Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall. This is not a matter of opinion, and it is not up for dispute. It is a matter of public record, supported by significant amount of photographic proof from inside the Al Aqsa Mosque, showing rocks and fireworks being kept inside the holy site by Palestinian extremists.
As such, the Palestinians injured during last year’s riots, just like the 150 estimated to be injured recently, are the fault entirely of Palestinian-Arab rioters, not of Israel.
The NCCM campaign, which encouraged readers and followers to write to Canada’s Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, demanding a condemnation of Israel, is not only outright disinformation, but in our view, is egregious incitement.
Rather than correctly pointing the finger at the violent Palestinian rioters who are turning a revered Islamic holy site into a place of violence, the NCCM has decided to perversely engage in victim blaming. By making this argument, the NCCM, in our view, is engaging in incitement against Israel, accusing it of violating the religious rights of Muslims. This is an extraordinarily serious claim, and given that it is utter fiction, it is remarkably irresponsible and dangerous on the part of NCCM, in our eyes, to give a platform to this conspiracy theory.
During last year’s war between Hamas and Israel, Jews were randomly targeted for hate crimes by pro-Palestinian activists around the world, including in Canada. And by continuing to beat this drum of disinformation, the NCCM, in our estimation, is actively throwing gasoline on the fire of antisemitism.
The NCCM owes an apology to Canada’s 400,000+ Jews for helping to spread a falsehood that has caused so much antisemitic activity in the past. Failing that, Canadian politicians and media outlets need to roundly and loudly condemn this organization for its complicity in fanning the flames of hatred in Canada.