Bangsamoro Leaders gather in protest against US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Cotabato City - Bangsamoro leaders on Wednesday gathered here in protest, and as a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people against US President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's new capital.

In a ‘’Bangsamoro Forum on Jerusalem Issue” organized by Bangsamoro Action Against Injustices (BAAI) in Cotabato City on December 20, 2017, about 188 Bangsamoro leaders representing various organizations attended the event. 

BAAI is a conglomeration of multi-sectoral organizations most of them ulama/ learned Muslims sympathetic to the cause of the Palestinian People.

In an opening statement by Nomaire Bin Hussen, Chairman of BAAI, he said that “Muslim world has once again been provoked. According to him, the malicious recognition of East Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel by Pres. Donald Trump of the United States is an insult not only to the Palestinian people but to the Muslim “Ummah” (Nation), and the International community. 

“It is a blatant disrespect, and disregard to the Palestinians traditional right over the city, and major religions that hold East Jerusalem sacred”, the BAAI Chairman said. 

Ustadz Marhan Burhan, Head of a Cotabato-based Da’wah Council (Islamic Call) said, “This is a big issue for 1.8 billion Muslim Ummah around the world.

Masjidil-Aqsa, situated in East Jerusalem, is the third holiest place in Islam after Masjidil-Haram in Makkah, and the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah. Masjidil Aqsa was the first Qiblah of the Muslims, and   it was the destination of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) during his isra (night journey) before his mi’raj (Ascension) towards heaven.” Ustadz Burhan said in his lecture.

Meanwhile, BAAI spokesman Usatdz Habib M. Usman, provided inputs on the Political and Theological Implications of Jerusalem Declaration. “It violates the UN Resolutions No. 181 of 1948 which is the so called “UN Partition plan of Palestine. It has also violated the 1993 peace agreement or the Oslo agreement; violates the verdict of International Court of Justice. 

It prevents the Palestinians from achieving their rights to self determination.  He also said that the declaration deprives refugees their rights to return to their homeland; increasing the historical injustices committed to the Palestinian people by Israel, and the U.S. that will encourage more violent extremism”. Ustadz Usman stressed.  

Dr. Zul-Qarneyn Abas gave inputs on the Essentials of Sympathizing with the Palestinian people on the issue of statehood, and the issue of Jerusalem. In his lecture, he emphasized “the issue of Palestine in general, and East Jerusalem in particular, extends beyond religious symbolism towards justice, and self-determination. 

“History witnessed the Zionist people occupying Palestine, grabbing Palestinian lands, subjugating, and oppressing their people including old folks, women and children”, Dr. Abas added.  

“The United Nations has been proven inutile in stopping these atrocities, and Israel has acted with impunity, Dr. Abas also added. The Israeli government has constructed illegal settlements meant to dispossess the Palestinians of their lands, conducted warrantless arrests, incarceration, and torture of innocent civilians, economic blockade of the Palestinian territories, and many others”, Dr. Abas said. 

“To say that Israel has committed human rights abuses is understatement for it has committed crimes against humanity. It has upgraded itself from being a rogue state to being a prime example of a living terrorist state”. Dr, Abas stressed.

“Boycott US and Israel products”

In an open forum, a very emotional lady participant made a strong recommendation to the group not to patronize products from US, and Israel as a response to US President decision. It was supported by another participant that even asked the BAAI to make a Fatwa that prohibits the Muslims to buy any products from these two countries. 

Other recommendations such as reach out to other groups, and sectors including Christians to strengthen the indignation in protest of such declaration. Writing a formal letter or manifesto to be submitted to US, and Israel embassy in Manila was also suggested during the forum. 


At culmination of the forum, Dr. Ombra Imam read the Manifesto as expression of the group’s sympathy, and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to reclaim their land, and their rights to self-determination. 

“As a people whose lands were illegally occupied, who lived under subjugation for more than three centuries, and who are asserting their rights to self-determination, we the concerned Bangsamoro leaders denounce this move by US President Trump in the strongest terms possible, and call on him to reverse his move. 

We call on all countries in the world to stop the terrorism of the Zionists, and their allies against the Palestinian people by all means possible. We strongly support the initiatives and actions of the world leaders regarding this issue. Moreover, we call on the entire Muslim Ummah to unite, preserve and protect the Holy site, our beloved Baitul-Maqdis, which Zionists are so keen on destroying through whatever means possible. This is a duty incumbent upon us; a duty that needs to be upheld for a day may come when we may be made answerable before Allah, the Almighty.” Part of the group’s Manifesto said.

‘Youth Picket’

While the forum is ongoing, a group of Moro youth staged a picket along Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City to expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

"Men and women, carrying placards, and banners condemned the US President move.  

Protesters called for a resolution of the conflict, and vowed to continue legal actions for the cause of the Palestinian people..

On December 13, President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an of Turkey hosted an extraordinary summit in Istanbul for the 57-strong Organization for Islamic Cooperation, during which he called Trump's move "dangerous" and labelled Israel a "terrorist state".

Trump's announcement overturned decades of US policy, and a long-standing international consensus, that the fate of Jerusalem be decided as part of a peace deal between Israel and Palestinians.

Israeli and Palestinian claims to the city's eastern sector form the core of their conflict, and Trump's announcement was seen as siding with the Israelis.

In Jakarta, Anwar Abbas, a top scholar from the Indonesian Council of Ulama, read a petition calling on Indonesians to stop buying American products until Trump revoked his move.

"Don't rely on their products," he said, as the crowd - including men, women and children - responded by waving Indonesian, and Palestinian Flags and shouting "boycott!"

Previous anti-American protests have unsuccessfully lobbied for a boycott of US goods.

Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said the protesters marched peacefully about 3km from the National Monument Park to the US embassy.

Some local media reported that the demonstration was attended by a big number of participants.  About 20,000 security forces were deployed to secure the rally.

In the petition, the leaders, and scholars urged Trump to immediately rescind his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital because it has hurt international justice, violated Palestinians' human rights, and undermined peace efforts.

It also demanded nations not follow the US in moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and urged the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss Trump's declaration. 

As of posting, U.N. Security Council in a meeting voted on the issue of Jerusalem with 14 members rejecting Trump’s decision, while the U.S. voted against the resolution. 

The chairman of the Muslim leaders' council, Ma'ruf Amin, said: "Let's fight together with the government, and the world for the freedom of Palestine through political, diplomatic and economic ways."

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has strongly condemned Trump's move as a violation of UN resolutions.

Indonesia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, and has long been a strong supporter of Palestinian aspirations for statehood.