National Muslim groups at State Department to discuss Al Aqsa mosque crisis
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/10/17) – Representatives of the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), a coalition of leading national and local American Muslim organizations, met yesterday with State Department officials to discuss the ongoing Al-Aqsa Mosque crisis and Israel’s denial of religious freedom in Jerusalem, which is holy to the three Abrahamic faiths.
During the meeting at the State Department, the delegation highlighted the religious significance of Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa mosque sanctuary – Islam’s third holiest site — for the world’s 1.7 billion Muslim, including the 6 million Muslims residing in the United States. Officials assured the group the United States is committed to maintaining the safety and security of worshipers in Jerusalem.
Two weeks of peaceful Palestinian protests and international pressure in July forced Israeli authorities to remove surveillance cameras they had installed at the gates to Al Aqsa. Palestinians and Muslims worldwide remain concerned about Israel’s denial of religious rights for Muslims and Christians, and the ongoing Israeli effort to alter the religious landscape of Jerusalem.
“While we’re glad the security cameras and checkpoints were removed from outside Al Aqsa, Israel’s occupation is still firmly in place,” said Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, AMP national policy director and USCMO board member. “When we articulate our position to the State Department it informs them that there are thousands of Americans demanding a more fair and balanced foreign policy in the Middle East.”
“We wanted to convey to the State Department how deeply concerned we are about the incidents in Jerusalem and to make sure they understood the religious significance this site holds for American Muslims,” said Oussama Jammal, USCMO secretary general. “We were encouraged by the constructive dialogue at the State Department on these important issues.”