Muslims Around The World Rally For Israel's Extermination With AM-Israel-Unrest, BjtANWAR FARUQI , Associated Press
Mar. 11, 1994 3:04 PM ET
NICOSIA, CYPRUS NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Muslims on Friday marked Jerusalem Day, an Iranian-decreed day of solidarity against Israeli control of the holy city, with pledges to destroy Israel and restore it to Islamic control.
Iranian radio and television, which are monitored in Cyprus, aired live coverage of a rally in Tehran, in which the state media claimed ''millions'' of people took part.
The marchers burned the Israeli and American flags, chanted ''Death to America 3/8 Death to Israel 3/8'' and listened to President Hashemi Rafsanjani warn Arab governments they were ''committing suicide'' for seeking a negotiated settlement with Israel.
''Can Israel really remain?'' asked Rafsanjani in his sermon at Tehran University, where the rally climaxed. ''In my opinion it cannot. That artificial entity cannot survive.''
''The Americans and British should realize that they will lose the (support) of the entire Islamic world if they keep backing Israel,'' he said.
In 1981, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini decreed that Muslims should mark Jerusalem Day on the last Friday of Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting.
This year Iran called for a massive turnout at the rallies to underscore Muslim rage over the Feb. 25 massacre of 30 Muslim worshipers at a mosque in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
In Lebanon, where Iran strongly influences the country's 1.2 million Shiite Muslims, demonstrators came out in force.
In Beirut, hundreds marched in heavy rain through the city's narrow slum alleyways, chanting ''Death to the Great Satan, America 3/8'' and ''Death to the Zionist entity 3/8''
Senior leaders of the pro-Iranian Hezbollah, or Party of God, led the march, in which Iranian Revolutionary Guards, part of a fewer than 2,000- strong contingent in Lebanon, also took part.
In the ancient town of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon, hundreds of Hezbollah guerrillas armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers fanned out in a show of force.
Tehran television said rallies also were held in India, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Syria.
Jerusalem is the site of Islam's third holiest shrine after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Muslims believe the 7th century Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from the Haram as-Sharif, or Noble Enclosure, inside the walled Old City.