The British lobby group Friends of Al-Aqsa has launched its annual week of solidarity with Al-Aqsa Mosque, coinciding with the last week of the Islamic month of Rajab, which this year falls on 6-12 March. The organisation has called upon everyone who empathises with Al-Aqsa Mosque and the challenges it faces to engage with online solidarity programmes no matter where they live.
"Al-Aqsa International Week is designated for individuals and organisations to hold workshops, activities, discussions and events wherever they are," explained Friends of Al-Aqsa. The NGO added that the activities taking place during the week are aimed at raising awareness about Al-Aqsa Mosque and spreading support within the international community. The hashtag #LoveAqsa has been launched on social media.
The chair of Friends of Al-Aqsa is Dr Ismail Patel, who told Arabi21 in an exclusive interview that the goal of launching Al-Aqsa International Week is to allow "every person in the world to engage with activities related to Al-Aqsa Mosque wherever they live for the sake of supporting the cause and publicising the mosque and its sanctity."
Patel confirmed that Friends of Al Aqsa has provided a variety of resources on its website to be used by those taking part in the programme. Anyone can download pictures, posters, educational and historical materials as appropriate for any activities that they organise in their local community.
The Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa, he pointed out, belongs to Muslims all around the world, and they should support it regardless of nationality, identity, political affiliation or anything else. "Al-Aqsa International Week is an opportunity to show our love for one of our greatest symbols, Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Participating in Al-Aqsa week helps spread the love of Al-Aqsa, and celebrating Al-Isra and Al-Mi'raj — the miraculous night journey of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him — during Al-Aqsa week helps achieve unity between Muslims worldwide."
Friends of Al-Aqsa, Dr Patel added, invites everyone to participate, organise events about Al-Aqsa in their locations to promote our heritage and show their love for Al-Aqsa. "We are also organising an international prayer for Al-Aqsa Mosque, and we invite mosques around the world to dedicate a sermon to Al-Isra and Al-Mi'raj on Friday, 12 March."