Following the unexpected assault carried out by the Palestinian militant organization Hamas on Israel, Khaled Mashaal, the previous leader of the group’s political wing, urged Muslims worldwide to stage protests on Friday, October 13, to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinian population.
On October 7th, Hamas orchestrated the most fatal Palestinian militant attack on Israel to date, which prompted Israel to retaliate with their most intense airstrikes on Gaza. The Israeli military confirmed at least 1,300 fatalities in Israel as of Friday, according to the Associated Press, while authorities in Gaza reported at least 1,500 deaths.
In a recent statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country is currently in a state of war. As a result, Israel has taken the drastic measure of halting the supply of critical resources such as food, fuel, electricity, and medicine to the Gaza Strip. This move comes as Israel has called up an unprecedented 360,000 army reservists in preparation for a potential ground offensive into the territory, which is home to approximately 2.3 million people.
As per the transcript of the recorded message that was revealed by Reuters on Wednesday, Mashaal, who is currently heading Hamas’ diaspora office in Qatar, urged the scholars who teach jihad to apply their theories. He also encouraged all those who teach and learn to seize this moment for application. The call, which has been referred to as a “Day of Jihad,” has raised apprehensions that protests could lead to possible attacks.
Law enforcement agencies in prominent American cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. have reinforced security measures on Friday, despite receiving no credible threats of violence in connection with the “day of Jihad.” The FBI and the White House have encouraged citizens to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities.
According to Salam Al-Marayati, who serves as the president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Hamas’ actions are not surprising as they are a known terrorist organization. Al-Marayati went on to denounce their terrorist activities and made it clear that any call for additional violence should not be heeded by Muslims. He emphasized that in Islam, it is crucial to avoid targeting civilians during any conflict.
According to reports, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia has recently hinted at the possibility of preparing for extremist attacks by stockpiling supplies. In light of these concerning threats, she has also suggested that the GOP’s efforts to elect a new House speaker be postponed for the time being.
According to a post made by Greene on X (previously known as Twitter), she suggested that if there is no voting for a Speaker today, they should just go home and regroup next week. She also mentioned the heightened security around the Capitol and the dozen protests planned in DC, with only one being Pro-Israel. She further added that with Hamas declaring tomorrow as a global day of jihad, it would be best to stay prepared by buying ammo while at home.
In Paris, the police resorted to using water cannons and tear gas to break up a protest on Thursday. This action was taken following the French government’s decision to ban any pro-Palestinian demonstrations throughout the country. The ban comes in the aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel, which has led to heightened tensions in the region.
James Woods, a well-known actor and a supporter of Donald Trump, recently shared his thoughts on the idea of “sheltering in place” due to the declaration of a Day of Jihad. In a post, he expressed his disagreement with the notion and asserted that he will be spending his day as usual, outside and in his neighborhood, with extra ammunition. His statement reflects his confidence in the strength and security of the United States of America, despite potential threats from other parts of the world.
According to a statement from the FBI, they have been made aware of reports circulating in open source channels regarding a global call for action on Friday that may result in demonstrations in cities across the United States.
The federal agency emphasized that they always prioritize and thoroughly investigate any tips or leads they receive regarding potential threats to ensure their credibility. They encourage the public to stay alert and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. The FBI’s unwavering dedication to ensuring public safety is reflected in their prompt response to any potential threats.
Further clarification has been requested from the FBI through email for additional information.
During a press briefing on Thursday, John Kirby, National Security Strategic Communications Coordinator, made a statement that echoed a similar sentiment.
Kirby emphasized the importance of staying in constant communication with local law enforcement, state and federal officials throughout the United States. He stressed the need to remain vigilant in order to identify and disrupt any potential threats to the safety and security of American citizens. Kirby made it clear that this will remain a top priority moving forward.
The New York City Police Department has issued a statement in response to reports that all officers will be required to report in uniform on Friday. According to the statement, the department has not received any credible threats to the city at this time. It is reassuring to know that law enforcement officials are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of all residents and visitors, while also maintaining transparency and clear communication with the public.
“We understand the worry that has been sparked by the viral posts circulating on the internet, and as a precautionary measure, we have ramped up our presence of uniformed personnel at major events and cultural landmarks to ensure the safety of the public.”
In a recently released statement to Reuters, Mashaal, the former Hamas chief, urged people to take action and start with what they’re familiar with, but to raise the bar, especially when it comes to expressing their anger. He called for individuals, including himself, to take responsibility and head to the streets and squares of the Arab and Islamic world on Friday, specifically the Friday of Al Aqsa Flood.
As we take to the squares and streets, let us channel our anger into a powerful message of solidarity with Palestine, Gaza, Al Aqsa, Jerusalem, and all those affected by this ongoing conflict. We must make it clear that we are fully committed to this battle and will not shy away from standing up for what is right. Let our voices be heard loud and clear, spreading the message far and wide that we stand with our brothers and sisters in Palestine.
The people of Gaza are in dire need of your assistance. They urgently require relief aid and monetary help, and every little bit counts. This is a critical moment that calls for action from anyone who is able to lend a hand.
He emphasized the importance of putting theories into practice for those who teach and preach about jihad for the sake of God, as well as those who learn about it. “Words should not just remain as words,” he stated, addressing all the scholars who support fighters and martyrs.