Al-Quds Day rally in Toronto took place on June 1, 2019. The speakers at the event were Suzanne Weiss, Ken Stone, Zafar Bangash, Ali Mallah, Nasim Askari, Robert Massoud, Dmitri Lascaris, Ted Schmidt, Leary Charles, Yves Engler and Stephen Ellis who read a statement written by Rabbi Stern from Neturei Karta. Hussein Mojtahedy led the slogans between speakers.
Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) and on the Editorial Board of Crescent International. He was among the founding members, with Dr Kalim Siddiqui of the Muslim Institute in London. He is the author of several books, his latest being: Power Manifestations of the Sirah: Examining the Letters and Treaties of the Messenger of Allah (saws). Zafar Bangash is also a community organizer affiliated with Al-Quds Day rally in Toronto.
During Al-Quds Day rally, Zafar Bangash was interviewed for darstv YouTube channel. Here is the transcript of the interview:
Question: Today we’re here with Zafar Bangash. He is a longtime friend of the cause and the Al-Quds organization. So if you want to just say a couple words about yourself.
Zafar Bangash: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful [بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم], today we are gathered to observe Al-Quds day that was declared by our beloved leader the late Imam Khomeini back in 1979 to be observed as Quds day internationally and globally in 1979. As we gather there have been rallies in at least 800 cities around the world, and this year in Toronto it is particularly significant because the Zionist lobby tried to ban our rally and we won an important victory at Toronto City Hall, but we have many other battles to wage both at the provincial as well as federal levels. But we will continue to express our solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters and to continue to call about the desecration of Masjid [Mosque] al-Aqsa in Jerusalem in the first qibla [direction of prayer] of the Muslims.
Question: if I could ask you why are you here today personally?
Zafar Bangash: I have attended each and every rally for Al-Qods since it was announced by the late Imam Khomeini. Initially there used to be about 15, 20 of us. We used together and hold this rally but gradually it grew. For me personally it is important because Al-Aqsa Mosque is the first qibla [direction of prayer] of the Muslims and it is of the utmost importance that Muslims strive not only to draw attention to its illegal occupation by the Zionists, but also to liberate it from the clutches of the Zionists. And it is a both a religious, moral, political and human duty of every human being and as a Muslim it is my personal responsibility to continue to speak out in support of Al-Aqsa mosque and its liberation and the liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian people.
Question: Now that Palestine has been occupied for almost a century what do you think needs to happen?
Zafar Bangash: The first point is that there has to be much greater awareness created worldwide, and I see that that awareness is now growing. As I mentioned at least Quds rallies being held in at least 800 cities around the world.In Canada also this awareness is growing. Once we have greater awareness then we can strive towards imposing sanctions on the Zionist regime to bring it in conformity with international law, and if it doesn’t then it has to be forced to comply with international law. So Palestine does not belong to the Zionists. It belongs to the Palestinian people, and in fact the Palestinians have said and we as Muslims have said that once this racist ideology of Zionism has been removed that all people, whether they are Muslims, Christians or Jews can live as equal citizens under the law. And this is what needs to be done in occupied Palestine.
Question: Now the Deal of the Century [American peace plan] is drafted what do you think about this deal personally?
Zafar Bangash: IThis so-called Deal of the Century is a conspiracy to deprive the Palestinian people of their rights, and regrettably and shamelessly many Arab regimes are going along with this. But the reason we are not really surprised, because these Arab regimes are also illegitimate they were the creation of colonialism just as the Zionist regime in occupied Palestine was the creation of colonialism. So this Deal of the Century is a stab in the back of the Palestinian people, we rejected, we will continue to condemn it, and we will continue to demand for the rights of the Palestinian people fully.
Question: Final question, what would you say to the Canadian government and the Canadian people, what do you want them to know?
Zafar Bangash: IYou know in October of 2017 there was a public opinion poll conducted by EKOS and it found that two-thirds of the Canadian people want to have sanctions imposed on Israel. That means the two-thirds of the Canadian people realize that there are terrible things happening in Palestine and Israel is an occupying regime, it is committing atrocities and it has to stop. Yet regrettably the Canadian government contrary to its own stated policy is supporting the Zionist regime, and we want the Canadian government to stop supporting the Zionist regime, that it should uphold international law, that it should abide by its own stated policy that is on the Foreign Ministry’s our foreign affairs website that Palestine his occupied territory, that Jerusalem’s final status has to be determined through negotiations. Yet the Canadian government shamelessly is siding with the Zionist regime. But as I mentioned if two thirds of the Canadian people are calling for sanctions against Israel that means the two thirds of the Canadian people support tougher measures against Israel to make it comply with international law, and that is what needs to be done.