Should Muslims have to choose between renouncing the al-Aqsa Mosque and becoming martyrs they will choose the latter, the leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch told followers Friday.
"Should the State of Israel make us choose…we will clearly choose to be martyrs," said Sheikh Raed Salah in the annual al-Aqsa convention in Umm al-Fahm. "We are a nation that does not give up, we will die and win; the al-Aqsa Mosque is not a matter that can be given up on, and we shall win, God willing."
Event draws masses (Photo: Zoom Out Productions)
The Muslim leader dedicated most of his speech to the Muslim struggle for al-Aqsa, while also slamming Israel's prime minister.
"Netanyahu, this political madman, may burn everything," he said, slamming the PM for the "foolish mistake" of opening the Western Wall tunnels in 1996. A repetition of the mistake may set the entire Middle East on fire," he said.
The event, which was held for the 14th year, was titled "40 years have passed, and who will put out the fire?" Tens of thousands of participants were expected to collect money for the benefit of the mosque, which they say faces danger.
During the event, Salah ignored the videotape showing Gilad Shalit released Friday, and chose to only congratulate the Palestinian prisoners released in the deal.