—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—
JAMAICA, New York (October 9, 2009) – In a press release issued today, the Islamic Circle of North America condemned the recent attack by Israeli occupation forces and extremist settlers on innocent worshipers in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
On September 27, Israeli police escorted settlers into Al-Aqsa despite a request by mosque officials to prevent Jewish settlers from entering and rallying at the site. Several worshipers began protesting, leading to a clash between Palestinians and Israeli police. Tear guns and stun grenades injured at least thirty worshipers in this unprovoked and deplorable attack on Al-Aqsa.
This is not the first incident of its kind. In September of 2000, Ariel Sharon visited Al-Aqsa mosque in what was deemed a purposely confrontational move that provoked a massive uprising in the region. In September of 1996, Israeli occupation forces opened a tunnel beneath Al-Aqsa, leading to clashes that killed scores of both Israelis and Palestinians. This most recent attack comes at a crucial time in the recommencement of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
ICNA calls on the Israeli government to halt its excavation projects near Al-Aqsa. Al- Aqsa is among the most holy Muslim sites, and both the Muslim and Jewish leadership in Jerusalem must unite in order to prevent future incidents and protect the innocent. Extremist groups intent on settling in the area and deliberately provoking reaction must not be allowed to enter the mosque and disrupt the peace.
ICNA encourages political and religious leaders to unite in an effort to ease tension in this tumultuous region. We stand with the American government and all people who are working towards peace in Israel-Palestine.
The Islamic Circle of North America is a leading American Muslim organization dedicated to the betterment of society through the application of Islamic values. Since 1968, ICNA has worked to build relations between communities by devoting itself to education, outreach, social services and relief efforts.
Islamic Circle of North America
Office: (718) 658-1199