World Bulletin / News Desk
American-Muslim leaders and civil right groups on Tuesday slammed President Donald Trump's imminent decision to consider Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Leaders from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations and a number of civil rights groups also voiced concerns about plans to move Washington’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"AMP believes that declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital or moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem threaten not only the Palestinians who are being ethnically cleansed, but also U.S. security and interest and its credibility as a broker in the Middle East," AMP Director Osama Abu Irshaid said at a news conference.
It is a "reckless and dangerous" move, he said, because the plan would contravene American foreign policy that considers Jerusalem a final status negotiation issue.
Trump will formally make the announcements Wednesday, according to senior administration officials.
Abu Irshaid drew on the position of former Secretary of State John Kerry who said last year in a address to the UN that Palestine has a right to Jerusalem.
Since 1967, Abu Irshaid said, the city has been recognized by every U.S. administration, along with the international community, as territories that belong to the Palestinians that Israel occupies.
He said the move has the potential for serious political consequences for region.
"We demand President Trump and his administration to stand alongside the international community and to waive recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Abu Irshaid told Anadolu Agency. "This could inflame the Muslim world, damage the outcome of the peace process and surely negate the claim that the U.S. is an honest broker in the Middle East."
As a holy city claimed by the three major Abrahamic faiths, Jerusalem is very sensitive matter, according to Secretary General of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations Oussama Jammal. He said the city needs to remain under international custody until the Israeli occupation is lifted and a mutual agreement is reached.
"The U.S. Council of Muslim organization believes that any move on the status of Jerusalem will jeopardize peace and stability of the Middle East," Jammal told Anadolu Agency.
"Therefore, we urge President Trump, Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson and members of the Congress to honor their policy towards Jerusalem.
“We are firmly opposed to the decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital,” said Bud Hensgen, a representative of the Virginia Coalition for Human Rights -- a group of 13 Christian, Jewish and Muslim organizations with more than 8,000 members who are committed to working toward a non-violence solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hensgen believes the plan would not serve U.S. interests but only complicate peace talks to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“As an American Muslim and as a citizen of this great nation, I and all of us are duty-bound to tell President Trump and his administration that recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not only morally wrong but it is against our national strategic interest in the region and in the Muslim world,” CAIR’s Executive Director Nihad Awad added.
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