Freedom and peace for Palestine!

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“From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free!” a protest sign read at the International Museum of Muslim Cultures’ “Mississippi Protest for Palestine” this past Saturday, May 29. Old and young proudly raised up the Palestinian flag in solidarity with those across the nation, around the globe, and in their homeland against the recent violence, displacement, and unrest in Palestine. (Photos by Andre’ Johnson, II)

By Brinda Fuller Willis, PhD

JA Contributing Writer

The International Museum of Muslim Cultures (IMMC) hosted a formal protest to draw attention to and garner support for the indigenous people of Palestine in light of the recent aggression perpetrated by Israel in the Middle East.

The protest was held May 29, 2021 at the satellite site of the IMMC located at 101 East Capitol Street in downtown Jackson, Mississippi. A crowd of appropriately 200 people gathered to denounce what they call the “Israeli Apartheid” and to end the occupation of Palestine. The recent conflict was apparently sparked when an Israeli court ruled that Palestinians would be evicted from their homes of more than twenty years in Gaza. The evictions were swift and executed without regard to the objections of the Palestinians who retaliated with rocket attacks met by the superior force of airstrikes by the Israeli military.

Opening prayers of calls for peace were offered by a Christian Minister of the Gospel, a Rabbi, and a Muslim Cleric  as a show of solidarity and inclusiveness.  An official statement from IMMC Co-Founder Emad Al-Turk was delivered by Savannah Willis, IMMC Co-Site Manager/Media Coordinator that detailed the support of the historical Palestinian plight and fight for a two-state resolution of the conflict.  Al-Turk states, “The museum will make a call for U.S., Israeli, and international leaders and officials to:

1. Undo the harm that current and previous U.S. administrations have financed;

2. End Israeli violations of international human rights laws against the Palestinian people;

3. Remove the unconstitutional restrictions on The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and boycott of companies that fund the illegal actions of the Israeli government; and

4. Stop sending U.S. taxpayers money (annual 4 billion U.S. dollars) to finance genocide and the massive displacement of Palestinians.”

The IMMC public statement reads as follows, “In alliance with the museum’s message of unity through humanity, this protest was the first in a number of actions planned to help spread awareness to Mississippians about the atrocities carried out against the indigenous people of Palestine as well as to create a safe place for thought-provoking and scholarly conversation.

“The museum seeks to show that standing against inhumanity and colonial oppression is not only the right thing to do, but it is absolutely necessary, regardless of who the perpetrators may be.

“The organization wishes to highlight that being against the actions of a government is not to inherently be against its people and that despite the claims of our governor, there are Mississippians that stand with Palestine.”

Pro-Palestinian speeches were presented by members of the Muslim community that condemned the Israeli military for the use of weapons that have killed over 200 Palestinians including children and the annihilation of the homes and businesses of people who have no real way of opposing the forces of destruction and occupation of lands that the people have lived in for decades.

The protesters were nonviolent and displayed the flag of the people of Palestine as a public display of unity and peace.

IMMC is America’s first Muslim museum dedicated to educating the American public about Islamic history and culture and the contributions of diverse Muslim communities to America and the world. For more information, visit www.muslimmuseum.org. Follow on social media: Facebook.com/muslimmuseum and Instagram @immc_ms.