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Thousands Gather to Protest and Pray for Israel and Palestine

World News

October 28, 2023

Ainsley King


Thousands Gather to Protest and Pray for Israel and Palestine


Originally, many religious groups gathered to protest Hamas’ actions. Western governments and a large number of citizens have shown significant support and sympathy for Israel in the wake of the Hamas assaults, but the Israeli reaction has also caused indignation, especially in Arab and Muslim nations.


Crowds in Turkey gathered in front of mosques, cheering Hamas and screaming anti-Israel slogans. Mikail Bakan, a 46-year-old company owner in the southeast city of Diyarbakir, declared: "All the Muslim world needs to be one against Israel."


Young people in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Nablus battled with Israeli armed forces and set fire to the streets. At a protest in Rome, a massive Palestinian flag was flown overhead. Protests also happened in other European cities, including Braband and Berlin, where some demonstrators were arrested by the police.


Pro-Palestinian marches were outlawed in Germany and France, and a number of other Western nations reported that they had increased security at synagogues and Jewish educational institutions out of concern that the demonstrations might become violent.


There is a shared suffering here and casualties on both sides. People from around the world with family in Palestine and Israel are worried for them. At first, most of the calls for peace were from the Jewish side. There were also scheduled vigils and protests by Jews in favor of Israel. Michael Schudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, held a multi-confessional prayer for peace in Warsaw. On the Sabbath, Jews in France assembled at the biggest synagogue in Paris.


Tear gas and water cannons were shot by French police on Thursday night to disperse a protest in favor of the Palestinian cause that was prohibited in Paris. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations are outlawed by most authorities in the EU because they are thought to cause unrest in the community.


For security considerations, two Jewish schools in London and several Jewish schools around the Netherlands were shuttered. Thousands of cops are doing extra patrols and going to mosques, synagogues, and schools, according to police in the capital of the United Kingdom. According to a police statement, the rise was caused by a notable rise in hate crimes, especially antisemitic incidents.


On Saturday, thousands of people were anticipated to participate in a March for Palestine. The Last Generation, a young extreme environmentalist group, called off planned protests in Germany, citing their desire to not divert law enforcement's attention from their mission of defending Jews and Jewish institutions. 


The prayers are not only from Jewish and Islamic people. Christians around the world have held vigils to pray for both countries. During their Friday sermons, prominent Imams in Greece and France denounced the violence that has engulfed Israel and the Gaza Strip, calling for peace.


Abdennour Tahraoui, the Imam of the Grand Mosque of Paris, lamented the "tragic news [of a war] that has generated thousands of dead and wounded on both sides" had brought about. "Disregarding civilians has been intentional," he declared. "It is our responsibility to denounce these actions and demonstrate our support for all innocent victims."


Tahraoui continued, “It’s imperative to avoid provocations, or even clashes toward communities of different religions and beliefs, so that we can live in peace and harmony in France.” Sidi Mohammad Zakim, the imam of Athens' mosque, made similar appeals in his sermon. France has the biggest Muslim community in Western Europe,


“We don’t want violence, we don’t want war. We want peace and I wish to Allah for peace in the whole world,” Sidi Mohammad Zaki told AP after Friday prayers. “Let each person believe what they want.”


“This bloodshed has to end, because, what fault is it of a little child, either on one side or on the other?" Zaki added. "What fault is it of a woman? Of an elderly person? Why are they playing with these souls.”

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