Muslims in Indonesia, Pakistan and Malaysia protested outside US embassies Friday against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In Kuala Lumpur, more than 1,000 protesters led by Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin marched from a nearby mosque after Friday prayers to the US Embassy, halting traffic as they chanted “Long live Islam” and “Destroy Zionists.” Many carried banners, some of which said “Free Palestine” and “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”
Khairy addressed Trump in a speech after handing a protest note to an embassy official, saying “Mr. President, this is an illegal announcement. Jerusalem is an occupied territory. You must not even set foot in Jerusalem. … The world will rise against the United States.”
“Trump has to understand that Jerusalem is not his to give and the decision for whatever status of Jerusalem should not come from America,” said Ulya Aqamah bin Husamudin, a leader of the political party BERSATU.
Nurul Hidayah Mesari, a student, compared Jerusalem to the holy Muslim cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, saying “it’s as if those places were occupied as well, that’s our feeling.”
In Pakistan, hundreds of Muslims rallied against Trump’s decision in demonstrations organized by radical Islamic groups in Islamabad and elsewhere in the country, where protesters torched effigies of Trump to express solidarity with the Palestinians.
The protesters marched in the streets chanting “Down with America” and “Down with Israel.”
Rallies took place in the port city of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest, and also in Multan and Lahore, the capital of eastern Punjab province.
Islamist leaders addressed the crowds and urged Muslim countries to cut diplomatic ties with Washington to pressure Trump to reconsider his decision.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry issued a statement expressing concern over what it said was Trump’s altering of the “legal and historical status” of Jerusalem.
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, more than 300 protesters shouted “Go to hell Israel!” and called on Trump to stop “blind support” for the Jewish state.
The protesters marched from mosques to the heavily guarded US Embassy, waving Palestinian and Indonesian flags.
Neither Malaysia nor Indonesia has diplomatic ties with Israel and both are strong supporters of the Palestinians.
In a Wednesday address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality. The move was hailed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.