Organization of Islamic Cooperation communique vows to defend al-Aqsa Mosque
AA photoThe Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Aug. 2 expressed its determination to defend the al-Aqsa Mosque from all threats by Israel and emphasized the sanctity of the holy site for Muslims from around the Islamic world.
“Israel’s recent provocative actions, including the closure of the al-Aqsa Mosque,” were condemned by OIC foreign ministers in a final communique issued in Istanbul on Aug. 1 after a meeting on the recent Israeli restrictions on al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
“The committee condemns the banning of Palestinian Muslims and Christians from their natural right to worship in the holy sites in al-Quds al-Sharif, through employing collective punishment measures, and the use of lethal and excessive force against peaceful Palestinian worshipers,” it said.
“The exemplary religious tolerance established throughout centuries under Islamic rule” at al-Aqsa was also emphasized by the foreign ministers.
The holy mosque was “the first Qibla of Islam and one of its three most sacred masjids; a sanctuary that belongs to Islam,” they reiterated.
“The committee reaffirms the centrality of the cause of Palestine and the religious and spiritual character of the city of al-Quds al-Sharif for the entire Muslim Ummah, and its determination to defend it from all threats caused by the colonial Israeli occupation,” it said in the communique.
It also emphasized the Arab and Islamic character of al-Aqsa and rejected any attempts susceptible to prejudice “the Palestinian right to full sovereignty over the city of al-Quds al-Sharif [East Jerusalem] as the capital of the State of Palestine.”
The organization also condemned recent premeditated Israeli attempts to alter the historic status quo at al-Aqsa Mosque, “including the installation of metal detectors and cameras in and around al-Haram al-Sharif.”
It highlighted its future support against any Israeli intervention and warned that “any similar steps in the future would be unacceptable and illegal and shall be confronted by the organization.”
The committee also rejected and condemned attempts by Israel “to legislate altering the demographic composition in al-Quds al-Sharif” and said “any measure and/or legislation Israel adopts in relation to al-Quds al-Sharif are illegal, null and void under international law and several relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolutions.”
The OIC thanked Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia for their principled and longstanding and proactive support during the conflict.
It urged the international community to undertake necessary efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in accordance with the internationally recognized basis of the two-state solution and to end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.