Al-Quds Day Rally in Chicago

Leena Saleh, SJP DePaul

This year Chicago, for the first time, held an Al-Quds day rally on Friday at the Daley Center on the corner of Dearborn and Washington.

September 3rd  is the International Day of Al-Quds. It is an annual event opposing Israel’s control of Jerusalem. Anti-Zionist demonstrations are held on this day in Muslim and Arab countries and non-Muslim countries all over the world.

Protesters face the corner of Dearborn and Washington (Photo by: Leena Saleh)

Not only was this Chicago’s first annual Al-Quds Day rally but an event that happened that morning made it even more significant. In Quetta, Pakistan at least 57 people were killed and over 150 injured in a suicide bomb attack targeting the Al-Quds rally being held (Dawn Media Group).

The windy air was filled with the sound of protesters’ chants demanding a “free, free, Palestine,” and reminding everyone that “occupation is a crime.” Among the crowd were activists young and old and people of different faiths including Rabbi Yoel Loeb who was the first guest speaker.

Rabbi Loeb speaking at Al-Quds Rally (Photo by: Leena Saleh)

With a humble stature Rabbi Loeb took the platform and began his heartfelt speech. He vehemently spoke the words: “Zionists are heretics who don’t believe in God.” “We pray to God constantly for the dismantlement of the state of Israel and the dismantlement of the occupation.” He went on to explain how Judaism is not Zionism and that Zionism violates the Torah.

Imam Syed Sulayman Abidi followed Rabbi Loeb on the platform to begin his speech. He began a powerful speech about pluralism and fighting in the way of justice despite what faith the oppressed belong to. For Muslims to stand up for non-Muslims when they are being oppressed and likewise for Jews and Christians to stand up for oppressed Muslims. Enforcing justice, he said, is a duty that falls on all “people of conscious.” “Palestine is a Muslim cause, but it is also a Jewish cause, and it is also a Christian cause for followers of other belief systems, it is a cause that is relevant to their religion and their belief system.” More significant than this, the Imam emphasized his belief that simplifying Palestine to being a human rights cause is inaccurate. He claims that it is because of the religious values held by Christians, Muslims, Jews and the like and because of their belief in God that they share the cause of Palestine.

Imam Sulayman Abidi speaks on the Palestine cause (Photo by: Leena Saleh)

Imam Abidi received his Bachelors degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo, NY. He has spent the last 10 years studying at the Hawza Ilmiyah in Qum, Iran. He is a frequent guest speaker at many North American Muslim communities and is in regular consultation with Islamic Studies departments at leading universities throughout the United States.

International Al-Quds annual anti-Zionist day of protest was conceived originally by the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In August 1979, the year of the Revolution. In solidarity with the Palestinians, Khomeini declared the liberation of Jerusalem a religious duty to all Muslims. Chicago’s Al-Quds Day Rally, similar to the protests around the world was organized by an ad hoc of local Muslims, students, and activists. Organizers said they are hopeful of having Chicago being a regular participant due to the success of the rally on Friday.

Check out a slideshow of the rally and footage of  the guest speakers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


1 Response to “Al-Quds Day Rally in Chicago”

  1. 1 Babar September 6, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Congratulations for a successful rally!

    What happened in Quetta is extremely sad, as if the oppression by Israel & others isn’t enough that these terrorist need to go on killing sprees to murder even more innocent people.

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