Muslims prepare to mark Quds Day in 80 countries
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Muslims prepare to mark Quds Day in 80 countries

Khamenei ahead of anti-Israel events: ‘Palestine will be free’; Neturei Karta sect to join demonstration in London

Iranian demonstrators burn an Israeli and British flag during a rally marking Quds Day, on the last Friday of Ramadan, in Tehran last year. (photo credit: AP/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian demonstrators burn an Israeli and British flag during a rally marking Quds Day, on the last Friday of Ramadan, in Tehran last year. (photo credit: AP/Vahid Salemi)

Israel haters were set to mark International Quds Day on Friday with rallies planned in the United Kingdom, Australia, Iran, the United States, and across the Muslim world. Quds (Jerusalem) Day is held annually on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan.

The day of anti-Zionist expression was first conceived by Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the 1979 Iranian revolution. Khomeini established the annual event in order to bring international attention to the Palestinian cause, according to Will Fulton, an Iran analyst at the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project, and to strengthen movements like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad.

It is marked in Iran by huge rallies, the burning of Israeli and American flags, and with predictions of the Zionist regime’s imminent demise. Iran’s allies, including the Lebanese-based terrorist group Hezbollah and President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, also organize mass rallies for Quds Day.

In the past, Sunni extremists have used the day as an opportunity to attack Shiites. During a 2010 Shiite Quds Day rally in the Pakistani city of Quetta, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. A spokesman for the Taliban said the attack was in response to the killing of Sunni clerics by Shiites.

“Palestine will be free: there should be no doubt of this,” Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in remarks issued in honor of Quds Day. “Palestine will certainly become free and will be returned to the people, and in that place a Palestinian state will be formed; of these things there is no question.

“A new Middle East will come into being,” he added. “This Middle East will be an Islamic Middle East.”

Khamenei also tweeted extensively about the upcoming Quds Day:

Though Iran’s recently elected president Hasan Rouhani has tried to present a more moderate face to the West, there has been no noticeable change in official statements this year around Quds Day.

Rouhani himself has not made any statements, but he is likely to turn up at an event with other regime officials. 

Bahrain’s Shiite February 14 movement released a statement reading, “Quds Day is the day of the oppressed nations. Our vow is international solidarity with the slogans and goals of the Palestinian issue.”

A London Quds Day demonstration organized by the Islamic Human Rights Commission will reportedly be attended by representatives of Neturei Karta International, the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox sect that sees the founding of the state of Israel as a violation of God’s plan. On Thursday, a gag order was lifted on an espionage indictment filed in Israel against a 46-year-old Neturei Karta adherent who is accused of offering to serve as a spy for the Iranian regime.

In 2006, members of the fringe Neturei Karta sect visited Iran to take part in a conference hosted by then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which sought to “reexamine the Holocaust.”

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