If Turkey can do it, why can’t other Muslim states?

Published: August 5, 2014
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Though this stance has not effectively helped stop the murderous sprees, it is a brave, strong and welcome condemnation nonetheless. PHOTO: REUTERS

Over the indiscriminate genocide of innocent people of Gaza, the Muslim leadership, the Arabs in particular and other Muslim states in general, have blatantly and deliberately remained silent.

More than 1200 people have been killed and over 6,000 have been seriously injured in Gaza since the launch of Israel’s army offensive. Physical infrastructure is severely damaged: several houses and buildings have been demolished including mosques, schools and hospitals.

There are about 57 self-governing Muslim states across the globe; some are absolute monarchies while others are sovereign democratic republics. Yet, none of them has dared to openly condemn or curb Israel’s vicious character. Leaders are seen uttering clichéd statements and our fellow Muslim ‘brothers’ are seen posting pictures on Facebook and engaging in meaningless debates with their peers, but no one is doing anything substantial.

Saudi Arabia is offering donations to the Palestinians. Will giving more money to fuel an already murderous conflict bring peace in the region? I highly doubt that. So what exactly is the kingdom planning?

UAE has not shown any stake and concern in this issue either. Both UAE and Saudi Arabia are providing massive funds to sustain Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian President, and are hence, indirectly, funding the doom of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Now, just in case some of us are unaware of this, the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the few allies that Hamas has. Do these countries plan to entirely eliminate the Gazans, by not providing any solution for peace and, in turn, leaving them isolated of any support?

The Egyptian government, and its media, has been seen shamelessly praising Israeli aggression on Gaza and have declared it a war against terrorism. Under the el-Sisi regime, Egypt has tried to prove, again and again, that Hamas is a terrorist organisation and that Israel is right in trying to wipe it out.

Additionally, Egypt has closed its borders for Palestinian refugees. Wounded Palestinians have been refused entry and convoys carrying, much-needed, medical aid have been turned away; strengthening the siege on this open-air prison and putting more pressure on Hamas on behalf of Israel. It seems that there is some kind of understanding between the two states. Egypt’s stance over this issue is disgustingly pro-Israeli and no country from the Muslim world has effectively condemned Egypt for its support.

Syria and Iraq are themselves fighting domestic wars; they cannot do much for Palestine. Qatar, in the meanwhile, is strengthening intelligence ties with Israel. Iran has also superficially condemned the issue, while urging Palestine to keep fighting. Perhaps the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is unaware of how many lives have been lost in this conflict; otherwise, he wouldn’t have suggested such a cruel idea. On Tuesday, he called on Muslims from around the world to help arm Gaza Palestinians in their fight against Israel.

But who will provide ammunition to Hamas? And also, shouldn’t these countries be thinking of a solution so that more innocent blood is not lost? Or do these countries feel no pain when an innocent child is killed out of sheer brutality?

To some extent, Turkey has expressed a stronger reaction. It had the audacity to openly declare Israel a terrorist state. Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that Israel has surpassed what Hitler did to them, and declared the country a terrorist state. Unlike other puppet Arab states, it is the only country that is offering moral support to the Palestinians.

Erdoğan also slammed el-Sisi as an illegitimate tyrant, saying that Cairo could not be relied upon to negotiate a ceasefire with Israel. He further said that Turkey would push for Israel to be tried at an international criminal court if it keeps up its assaults on Gaza. Though this stance has not effectively helped stop the murderous sprees, it is a brave, strong and welcome condemnation nonetheless. At least there is one Muslim country out there willing to do what should have been done long ago.

In addition, Turkey has taken some practical steps; the country has sent a cargo plane carrying about 20 tons of medicine and healthcare supplies. There are also plans to send Freedom Flotilla II to go to the Gaza Strip, loaded with humanitarian aid, but no sail date has been set.

Pakistan, on Friday, observed a day of mourning across the country to express solidarity with the Palestinians. Notably, Pakistan is calling for the United Nations to intervene and settle the dispute. It is a common rhetoric and a mere formality; they already know what the UN would do.

Other Muslim countries have remained silent spectators so far and their silence is deafening.

The UN has always been deliberately partial towards Israel, since its inception. Recently, however, the United States criticised the UN for its decision to investigate human rights violations in Gaza and reiterated that it will stand up for Israel in the international community ‘even if it means standing alone’.

Mere condemnation is unavailing for Palestinians, it will not help alleviate their pain but they are in dire need of our help. They need to know that they are not alone. That somebody cares that they are dying. The criminal hush of the Muslim leadership is worthy of condemnation, is unpardonable and will be the cause of unrest in the general public.

I don’t see what it is that they are waiting for but I believe it is high time Muslim leaders start appreciating the gravity of the situation and pinpoint their common enemy. We must revive regional organisations like the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and make them more effective and influential.

The Muslims of the world must come together to fight this injustice. Not just as Muslims, but as humans, otherwise, Palestine, as we know it, will seize to exist.

Muhammad Imran Azeem

Muhammad Imran Azeem

Currently employed at the King Saud University as a research associate, he is an agricultural scientist, and his core area of research and focus is agricultural policy. He likes to write about current affairs and social issues. He tweets as @emranazeem1826 (twitter.com/emranazeem1826)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.