Hawzah News Agency (Nigeria, Lagos) - Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, MAI spokesperson, Yusuf Jimoh Aweda, called on the international community to pressure the US and Israel to stop atrocities against Palestinians. He also called on all Nigerians – regardless of religion – to speak out against these violations of human rights.
"We understand that some Christians are indifferent while many more support Israel in recognition of the Jews in the scriptures. Unfortunately, the Zionist government of Israel does not identify with Christianity and all Palestinian Christians and Muslims remain victims of persecution by the occupying Israeli forces."
Aweda said it was "disheartening" that many Nigerians did not show much concern for the people of Palestine. "We must remember that it is a moral duty to speak out against oppression and violations of human rights," Aweda said.
MAI head, Abdul Waheed Atoyebi, said the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was "provocative" and proved that Washington was "a biased party that could no longer serve the cause of justice or fairness on the Palestinian issue. The Israeli government as usual continues to be defiant, using deception, lies and false narratives to defend their indefensible crimes against humanity."
He also commended South Africa for withdrawing its ambassador to Israel, and called on the Arab League to stop ignoring Israel's assault on Palestinian rights. "Arab nations should stop burying their heads in the sand while Palestine and Islam's third holiest site are under constant attacks," Atoyebi said.
Atoyebi called on the UN to go beyond the symbolic criticism of Israeli atrocities and impose appropriate sanctions to force Israel to comply with international law.
In December, Atoyebi led a march of over 3,000 people in Lagos in protest at Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. At that event, the President of the Muslim Congress, Lukman Abdur- Raheem, said it is rather unfortunate that many educated Nigerians such as Reno Omokri and Femi Fani-Kayode are misleading the Nigerian Christian community into believing that the Palestinian liberation struggle was a religious battle – rather than an anti-colonial struggle.
Nigerian civil society calls for solidarity with Palestinians
On Monday, Issa Aremu, an executive member of the Nigeria Labor Congress, called on all Africans to stand up in solidarity with the Palestinian people, stressing that the Palestinian question is about land occupation, domination and oppression.
"The Middle East crisis is comparable to slavery, colonialism in Africa and apartheid in South Africa. As Africans who once reaped from global solidarity for liberation and independence we cannot by any stretch of imagination be indifferent until Palestinians also get justice, liberation and a fair deal in terms of a state and security."
On Friday, the former General Secretary of the Nigeria Labor Congress, Owei Lakemfa, blasted African countries for attending the opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem last week.