June 6, 2023

Washington – The US annual report on spiritual freedom world wide notes the assault by Israeli forces on the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shirin Abu Akle in Jerusalem final yr and admits Israeli police beat mourners throughout the procession.

The Worldwide Spiritual Freedom Report 2022, launched on Monday, stated that on Could 13, 2022, Israeli authorities used pressure to “derail” the funeral of a Palestinian-American reporter who had been fatally shot by Israeli forces just a few days earlier. Final yr, this assault drew worldwide condemnation.

“Earlier than the march, dozens of Israeli cops in riot gear dispersed the gang that had gathered outdoors the hospital together with her physique, entered the hospital, beat and pushed individuals inside with batons and used tear fuel and stun grenades, in line with Israeli media and launched footage. hospital,” the US State Division stated in a report.

He cited Israeli media reviews {that a} police officer had informed mourners that the funeral procession wouldn’t start till the gang stopped “nationalist chants”.

“Video throughout the funeral procession documented cops beating these carrying the coffin with batons in order that the coffin nearly fell to the bottom,” the U.S. assertion stated. “Police confiscated Palestinian flags from coffin, hearse and mourners.”

Whereas the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has beforehand expressed concern in regards to the Israeli police “invasion” of Abu Akle’s funeral, a report launched on Monday marks an in depth acknowledgment of the incident. The Israeli authorities didn’t punish the officers concerned within the assault.

Final yr, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated he was “deeply involved” by the “photographs” of the assault on Abu Akle’s funeral, however shunned condemning Israel’s habits.

“Each household deserves to have the ability to bury their family members with dignity and with out hindrance,” Blinken stated on the time.

Abu Akle, a veteran Al Jazeera correspondent, was fatally shot by the Israeli army whereas masking a raid within the Palestinian metropolis of Jenin on Could 11, 2022.

Final week, Abu Akle’s household and Al Jazeera Media Community renewed their requires accountability within the case on the primary anniversary of her homicide.

The Biden administration condemned the capturing of Abu Akle, however accepted the Israeli model that the journalist was killed unintentionally. Nevertheless, quite a few unbiased investigations by the media and eyewitnesses have proven that the journalist was not in shut proximity to the scene of hostilities when she was shot.

Washington, which gives Israel with no less than $3.8 billion in army assist yearly, has additionally rejected makes an attempt to carry Abu Akle to justice on the Worldwide Legal Court docket (ICC).

Jerusalem raid

The report, launched on Monday, additionally famous criticism from spiritual minorities and human rights teams of Israel’s primary regulation, which states that “the correct to nationwide self-determination within the State of Israel belongs solely to the Jewish individuals.”

The report refers back to the Israeli Nationwide Police (INP) raid on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest website, in April 2022.

“It was reported within the media that the INP beat mosque workers, the aged, youth and well being employees,” the report stated.

“Based on the Palestinian Pink Crescent, the IPF prevented the arrival of ambulances and paramedics; Palestinian media reviews that dozens of wounded worshipers stay locked contained in the compound.

“Media reviews that no less than 158 ​​Palestinians have been injured, and it’s estimated that the INP detained 300-400 individuals; The INP reported that three officers have been injured.”

Israeli forces additionally stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this yr.

A US report on Monday mentions restrictions on Easter companies on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 2022, which have been additionally launched this yr.

“The authorities introduced that they might permit 4,000 believers to worship, and 1,800 individuals within the temple. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate stated 11,000 individuals usually attend. The Patriarchy launched a press release saying it was “fed up with police restrictions on spiritual freedom”.

A police spokesman stated the choice was “completely safety associated and nothing else.”

Introducing the report, which covers greater than 200 international locations and territories world wide, US Ambassador for Worldwide Spiritual Freedom Rashad Hussain stated he attended Muslim, Christian and Jewish spiritual companies throughout a go to to Jerusalem and the West Financial institution final month.

“I met with authorities leaders, in addition to leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities, to debate the significance of non secular coexistence and defending entry to those spiritual websites,” Hussain stated on Monday.

Different Findings

  • The report renewed criticism of what the US says are “grave violations” by China towards spiritual minorities, together with Uyghur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists. Beijing has beforehand condemned Washington’s accusations of violating spiritual freedom, together with accusations of genocide towards the Uighur inhabitants.
  • Within the part on India, a US ally, the doc famous reviews of “regulation enforcement violence towards members of non secular minorities in a number of states,” together with the beheading of Muslim males and the demolition of Muslim-owned properties and retailers. India has additionally denied earlier US accusations of violating spiritual freedom.
  • The report highlights the demise of Mahsa Amini, who was in Iranian police custody final yr after she was arrested for allegedly carrying the hijab incorrectly. Her demise sparked protests throughout the nation towards the necessary carrying of the hijab and the federal government’s therapy of girls. “Social media and the worldwide press have reported that ladies of all ages, together with schoolgirls, have publicly eliminated, and in some instances burned, their hijabs in protest.”

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