The Al Quds Day Rally was held on the 26th of July 2014 and begun from Sydney Town Hall. It was a day that united individuals and groups from different religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds under the flag of anti-Zionism and freedom for Palestine. Imam Khomeini (qs) assigned the last Friday of the lunar month of Ramadhan as International Quds Day and encouraged people from all over the world to hold rallies and show their unification with the Palestinian cause.
Before the rally had begun, activist Tom Toby gave a short but powerful speech as a small crowd formed around him. This livened up the participants of the rally for the chants and slogans that they would be soon exclaiming.
The rally marched up to the Foreign Ministry chanting slogans such as ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ and ‘in our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinian. At the Foreign Ministry, various representatives of organisations and leaders of Islamic communities presented short, empowering speeches. They explained what the purpose of the rally was, why it necessary for such rallies to be conducted and to remind the general public of the situation in Palestine and the atrocities that are being committed by Israel.
The MC of the rally was sister Raida Salami who introduced various speakers to the audience. The sister first introduced Dr Tim Anderson who is a lecturer at the University of Sydney in political economics. Dr Anderson expressed his sympathy for the inhumane treatment of the Palestinians in a very moving speech in which he eloquently outlined that Israel is essentially built upon evil ideals. Prominent activist, Tom Toby then spoke, displaying his passion for the Palestinian cause. He strongly condemned Israel’s barbaric actions and sought the public to take a stance against them. Next, Father Dave Smith spoke. His speech revolved around the importance of the public being aware of the situation in Palestine and of the evil acts the Israeli forces are committing. Following Father Dave, Sheikh Jafar Fathullah spoke and expressed his anti-Zionist position to the participants of the rally as well as others who had stopped to listen. Sheikh Jafar’s speech was succinct and focused on the importance of our opposition towards Israel.
Sheikh Nami Farhat Al-Ameli then delivered a speech that sought to clear many misconceptions that some may hold against the cause of the Al Quds Rally. Firstly he explained that Zionism is not a religion, but a political organisation and that we respect all religions. He then stated that we must stand against any oppressor, even if they were to adhere to our own religious beliefs. Sheikh Nami drew similarities between ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and its misrepresentation of Islam and Zionism and its misrepresentation of Judaism as these movements are two sides of the same coin. He then exclaimed that we vehemently oppose both these movements and that one “can’t accuse us of being anti-Semitic”. Sheikh Nami finally opposed the Australian government’s positon towards not referring to the West Bank as an occupied area.
Hanadi Assoud from Hands of Syria then voiced her concern for the Palestinian people and following her, brother Ali Safdari concluded the rally with a message from the Ahl-ul Bait World Assembly Branch of Sydney-Australia which solidified the words of anti-Zionism and freedom for Palestinians that other speakers had expressed