- FOCUS ON WESTERN ISLAMISM - Majid Mohammadi - APRIL 13, 2023 -
Officials in the German capital of Berlin have brought about the cancellation of this year’s celebration of Al-Quds Day, an annual rally organized by Iranian proxies during which protesters demonize Israel and call for its destruction. Officials shut down the planned hate-fest scheduled to take place on April 15 by convincing rally organizers to withdraw their registration for the event, which traditionally takes place toward the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting.
To avoid public outbursts or media criticism, European authorities asked the organizers to cancel controversial events rather than ban them outright.
Iranian regime supporters who organize these rallies, meanwhile, are facing growing pushback from diaspora Iranians opposed to the Islamist regime in Teheran.
The voluntary cancellation elicited muted celebration from Joseph Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. “The cancellation of the Al-Quds demonstration by the organizers is a good thing,” he said. “But we must not delude ourselves by believing that the thought and the hatred that underlies it will disappear just like that.”
One factor that may have contributed to the willingness of organizers to cancel the rally is simple lack of interest. The rally may not be the draw it used to be in the early 2000s when thousands of protesters would show up to defame Israel. In 2019, the last year before the COVID outbreak, around 1,200 people participated in Berlin on June 1, down from 1,600 in 2018.
Al-Quds Day rallies — which take place in cities throughout the world with significant Shia populations — were initiated in 1979 by Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. These rallies give Hezbollah a pretext to raise its profile in Western democracies like Germany, with the organization’s yellow and green flags brazenly waived by protesters. In response to overt expressions of support for Hezbollah, the administrative authority in Berlin banned such flag-waving in 2016. Hezbollah was banned by the German government in 2020.