On June 8, 2018, the Shiite Noon University Movement held an event in Montreal commemorating Al-Quds Day.1 This annual event was initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 to express Islamic commitment to the Palestinian people and the destruction of the State of Israel. Michael Seguin,2 a PhD candidate whose thesis research deals with “Israeli settler colonialism,” and the Shiite imam Sheikh Ali Sobeiti,3 attended the event.
A young woman, Maryam Al-Asa’ad (مريم الاسعد), recited the poem “Palestine Will Inevitably Return” (originally in Arabic):4
Palestine Will Inevitably Return
Palestine was glowing with its beautiful colors
Safe and secure during a nice evening.
The smile did not leave her mouth like a groom in his handsome suit.
She would wake up to the Muslim call for prayer and the bells of the churches.
The people lived a pleasant life
Their holidays were joy and happiness
The family would gather every night
Her streets were full of lights
And her sky was decorated with magical stars.
On a dark night a black storm burst
Killing, destroying, deporting, causing a disaster,
Slaughtered the suckling infant as he had been slaughtered in [the Battle of] Karbala.
Separated lovers who were wandering in the open
An oppressed group of people was left alone and the heartless Arabs were negligent in helping them.
The proud Palestine rebelled to restore its identity. Rebels wore shrouds
And they embraced death, they remained the “stone children” [children who hurl stones at Israelis], lions who had will power of iron.
A determination that does not soften, souls that rise to their Creator when they are content and please [Him].
A nation that is not desperate, a mighty people
Challenges the siege, does not surrender to the fire.
The era of surrender is over
And the era of the revolutionaries has began.
Heresy joined tyranny, America and some of the Arabs
To eliminate the problem of Palestine in order to plunge it into oblivion.
They [USA] opened their embassy in al-Quds [Jerusalem], they will not harvest but a failure.
Listen my enemy, listen, our people will never surrender.
Listen my enemy, listen, a child stands in front of a Merkava [Israeli tank] and a nation that never kneels.
Listen my enemy, listen,
We will never give up, we will never surrender.
Blood spilled under the eyes of Allah, Palestine will inevitably return.
The Point of the Poem
Al-Asa’ad’s poem denies the Jewish people’s connection with the Land of Israel/Palestine by completely ignoring the constant Jewish presence there and attributing only Islamic and Christian features to it.
The conflict between the Palestinians and Israel is presented as a zero sum game, with an inevitable Palestinian victory that will bring Palestine back to the fold of Islam. The poem contends that the very existence of the State of Israel is the only cause for the Palestinian catastrophe, while portraying Israel as the ultimate evil because of its responsibility for killing babies and committing crimes against the Palestinians, including deportation and destruction.
The poem creates a parallel between Israel’s actions and the massacre carried out by Umayyad Caliph Yazid in the Battle of Karbala (680 CE), in which Hussein, Mohammed’s grandson, his family, and companions were killed. This argument flags Israel as an internal enemy of Islam that has to be defeated by jihad.
The United States is also portrayed as a prime enemy because of espousing “heresy” to eliminate the Palestinian problem by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and by introducing a new initiative (“the deal of the century”) to settle the conflict at the expense of the Palestinian people.
The lyrics of the poem express solidarity and support of the Palestinian struggle against Israel that strives to Islamize Palestine, otherwise known as the destruction of Israel.
The rebels, Palestinian revolutionaries who are eager to die for Allah, are praised as heroes equipped with an iron will who do not surrender to the enemy’s superior military might.
In a direct message to the “enemy” – the Israeli people and leadership – the poem emphasizes the determination to pursue the unwavering struggle to liberate Palestine.
Al-Asa’ad Speaks for Her Generation
The poem reflects anti-Israel sentiments among young Canadian Muslims who publicly support the violence of the Palestinian Intifada. Canadian Muslims, including teens, chanted, “Long live the Intifada” in protests in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and other cities across Canada. Pro-Palestinian groups claim that the armed struggle against Israel is legitimate and Israel is a colonial entity that must be erased from the map. Many young Canadian Muslims believe that the Jewish people has no religious or historic connection to the Land of Israel/Palestine and the Balfour Declaration was unjustly issued to the Jews.
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