First Published: 2017-12-08

Malaysians, Indonesians protest US move on Jerusalem
Both Indonesia and Malaysia are staunch supporters of Palestinian cause; protesters say Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is an insult to all Muslims.
Middle East Online

Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital puts US at odds with international community.

KUALA LUMPUR - Thousands of protesters in Muslim-majority Malaysia demonstrated Friday outside the US embassy over President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, denouncing it as a "slap in the face" for Muslims worldwide.

Some 5,000 demonstrators marched on the Kuala Lumpur mission after the main weekly Muslim prayers in a nearby mosque, chanting and waving banners that read "Hands off Jerusalem" and "Down USA President Trump".

Trump's announcement, which has been met by an almost universal diplomatic backlash, sparked Palestinian protests and clashes with Israeli security forces, as well as a call for a new intifada from Hamas' leader.

The status of Jerusalem is deeply sensitive for Muslims, and protesters have started taking to the streets in cities across the world following the policy shift.

The protesters in Kuala Lumpur were led by Khairy Jamaluddin, the sports minister and head of ruling party UMNO's youth wing, who accused of Trump of having made "an illegal announcement".

"What you did is against international law -- Muslims cannot accept your action," he said in a speech to the crowd during the hour-long protest.

Mohamad Rasul, a 51-year-old train driver taking part in the demonstration, described Trump's move as "a slap in the face for Muslims.

"This insensitive action will inflame the hearts of Muslims worldwide."

Police said 5,000 demonstrators took part in the protest, which passed off largely peacefully.

In neighbouring Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, several hundred people demonstrated outside the US embassy in the capital Jakarta, carrying placards that said "No to Trump" and unfurling a large Palestinian flag.

In Afghanistan, more than 1,000 protesters hit the streets after Friday prayers in Kabul, carrying banners reading "Death to Israel" and "Death to America".

The demonstrators burned effigies of Trump as well as American and Israeli flags in the centre of the Afghan capital. A few dozen tried to reach the heavily-barricaded US embassy, but were pushed back by local security forces.

Around 2,500 demonstrators also protested in the western city of Herat, while 500 people rallied in Kunduz, in the north-east of the country.

- Solidarity protests -

Hundreds of protesters also took to the streets in neighbouring Pakistan, including in the capital Islamabad. The protesters chanted "Death to Trump" and "Trump is mad", setting fire to American and Israeli flags as well as effigies of the US president.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, hundreds of protesters defied a curfew and demonstrated in the main city of Srinagar, burning photographs of Trump and trampling on American flags, as armed police pushed them back.

Police in riot gear were deployed in large numbers outside major mosques to thwart protests, a police officer said.

People in Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both, have historically displayed solidarity with Palestine.

Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan are also staunch supporters of the Palestinian cause and solidarity protests are not uncommon.

Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital puts him at odds with the international community, which insists the issue can only be resolved in negotiations.

 

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