Quds Day

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Quds Day
Quds Day in Tehran, Iran, 2016
Official nameروز جهانی قدس (Ruz Jahâni Quds)
Observed byArab world, Muslim world, anti-Zionists
SignificanceDemonstrations against Zionism, the State of Israel, and the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem; solidarity with the Palestinian people
DateLast Friday of Ramadan
2023 dateApril 14[1]
Started byRuhollah Khomeini
Related toIranian Revolution
Palestinian nationalism

Quds Day (lit.'Jerusalem Day'), officially known as International Quds Day (Persian: روز جهانی قدس, romanizedRuz Jahâni Quds), is an annual pro-Palestinian event held on the last Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to express support for Palestinians and oppose Israel and Zionism.[4] It takes its name from the Arabic-language name for Jerusalem: al-Quds. The event was first held in 1979 in Iran, shortly after the Islamic Revolution. The day is marked by widespread rallies and marches, during which senior leaders deliver speeches that frequently result in chants of "Death to Israel, Death to America."[5][6] Israeli flags, whether painted on the ground or distributed for people to step on, are subjected to both trampling and burning. Additionally, exhibits featuring mock-ups of ballistic missiles showcase slogans like 'Death to Israel’.[5]

Quds Day is also held in several other countries, mainly in the Arab world and broader Muslim world, with protests against the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem.[7][8] Rallies are held in various countries by both Muslim and non-Muslim communities around the world.[9]

Critics of Quds Day argue that it is inherently antisemitic.[10][11] In Iran, Quds Day also features demonstrations against other countries, including the United States and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Islamic State.[12][13][14]

Nominally, it exists in opposition to Israel's Jerusalem Day, which has been celebrated by Israelis since May 1968 and was declared a national holiday by the Knesset in 1998.[15]


An annual anti-Zionist day of protest was first suggested by Ebrahim Yazdi, the first foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian Revolution. At the time, its predominant context was related to deepening tensions between Israel and Lebanon. Khomeini adopted Yazdi's idea,[4] and on 7 August 1979, he declared the last Friday of every Ramadan as "Quds Day", in which Muslims worldwide would unite in solidarity against Israel and in support of the Palestinians.[16] Khomeini stated that the "liberation" of Jerusalem was a religious duty to all Muslims:[17]

I invite Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Al-Quds Day and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine. For many years, I have been notifying the Muslims of the danger posed by the usurper Israel which today has intensified its savage attacks against the Palestinian brothers and sisters, and which, in the south of Lebanon in particular, is continually bombing Palestinian homes in the hope of crushing the Palestinian struggle. I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join together to sever the hand of this usurper and its supporters. I call on all the Muslims of the world to select as Al-Quds Day the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan—which is itself a determining period and can also be the determiner of the Palestinian people's fate—and through a ceremony demonstrating the solidarity of Muslims worldwide, announce their support for the legitimate rights of the Muslim people. I ask God Almighty for the victory of the Muslims over the infidels.

There have been recorded incidents of violence on Quds Day, including 28 people killed and 326 wounded by bombs in 1985 during the Iran–Iraq War.[19] Iran celebrates the event characteristically by putting on public display poster images of the city of Jerusalem, thematic speeches, art exhibitions reflecting the issue, and folkloric events. In Lebanon, Hezbollah marks the occasion by organizing a substantive military parade for the last week of each Ramadan. Since 1989, Jordan has observed the event by hosting academic conferences, whose venue from university to university varies each year. Arab societies generally pay the occasion lip service in order to make a show of solidarity with the cause of Palestinian aspirations for nationhood.[20]

The day is also marked throughout Muslim and Arab countries. In January 1988, during the First Intifada, the Jerusalem Committee of the Organization of the Islamic Conference decided that Quds Day should be commemorated in public events throughout the Arab world.[21] In countries with significant Shia Muslim populations, particularly Lebanon, where Hezbollah organizes Quds Day observances, there is significant attendance at the day's events. Events are also held in Iraq, the Palestinian Gaza Strip, and Syria. Both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad endorse Quds Day and hold ceremonies. Outside of the Middle East and the wider Arab world, Quds Day protests have taken place in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Sweden, France, the United States, as well as some Muslim countries in Southeast Asia.[22] According to the BBC, while the original idea behind Quds Day was to gather all Muslims in opposition to the existence of Israel, the event has not developed beyond an Iranian experience. Apart from rallies, usually funded and organized by Iran itself in various capital cities, the ritual never took root among Muslims at large.[4]

Quds Day events

In Iran, the day's parades are sponsored and organized by the government.[23][24] Events include mass marches and rallies. Senior Iranian leaders give fiery speeches condemning Israel, as well as the U.S. government. The crowds respond with chants of "Death to Israel", and "Death to America".[22] According to Roger Howard, many Iranians under the age of 30 continue to participate in Quds Day events, though proportionately less than those on the streets. He adds that many Iranian students on campus say in private that the Arab–Israeli conflict has "nothing to do with us."[25]

Quds Day protests have been held in parts of the Middle East and in London and Berlin and the United States. Marches in London have drawn up to 3,000 people, while Berlin saw 1,600 protestors in 2018. Rallies were held in at least 18 cities across the United States in 2017.[26][27][28]

In 2020, for the first time since the initiation four decades ago, the Quds day event was held virtually in Iran amid the COVID-19 pandemic.[29]


See also


  1. ^ "Ramadan Calendar 2023, Sehar (Sahur) Time and Iftar Time | IslamicFinder". IslamicFinder. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  2. ^ "Al-Quds Day to be marked tomorrow". The Nation. May 6, 2021. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  3. ^ "Ramadan Calendar 2024". IslamicFinder.
  4. ^ a b c "Iran's 'Jerusalem Day': Behind the rallies and rhetoric". BBC Persian. August 1, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Seliktar, Ofira (January 2, 2023). "Iran's antisemitism and anti-Zionism: eliminationist or performative?". Israel Affairs. 29 (1): 137–154. doi:10.1080/13537121.2023.2162260. ISSN 1353-7121.
  6. ^ Wistrich, Robert S. "Gaza, Hamas, and the Return of Antisemitism". Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs. 8 (3): 35–48. doi:10.1080/23739770.2014.11446601. ISSN 2373-9770.
  7. ^ * Sokolski, Henry D.; Army War College (U.S.). Strategic Studies Institute; Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (2007). Gauging U.S.-Indian strategic cooperation. Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-58487-284-9. Many Muslims commemorate Al Quds Day by protesting against the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem where the Al Quds mosque is located {{cite book}}: |author3= has generic name (help)
    • "Iran warns West on al-Quds day". Al-Jazeera. September 26, 2008. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied in cities across the country to protest against Israel's occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem.
  8. ^ Chambers, Bill (July 12, 2015). "Al-Quds Day Commemorated in Chicago". The Chicago Monitor. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  9. ^ C. Hanley, Delinda (2010). "International Al-Quds Day in DC". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. – via General OneFile (subscription required)
  10. ^ Sommerlad, Joe (June 8, 2018). "This is why people are burning effigies of Donald Trump in Iran today". The Independent. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  11. ^ KÜNTZEL, MATTHIAS (2015). "Tehran's Efforts to Mobilize Antisemitism". Tehran's Efforts to Mobilize Antisemitism:: The Global Impact. Indiana University Press. pp. 508–532. ISBN 9780253018656. JSTOR j.ctt18crxz7.22. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  12. ^ "Al Quds Day: Protesters burn flags and chant 'death to Israel' at annual rallies held across Iran". independent.co.uk. Retrieved November 9, 2023.
  13. ^ AFP (June 23, 2017). "Chants against Israeli occupation in Palestine, Saudi and US as Iran marks Al Quds Day". Hindustan Times. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  14. ^ Marjohn Sheikhi (June 8, 2018). "Today's Quds rallies in opposition of Israel, US, Saudi Arabia". Mehr News. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  15. ^ Francesca Ceccarini, Al-Quds e Yerushalayim Un dialogo in due lingue. I Paesi arabi e la questione di Gerusalemme, FrancoAngeli, Milan 2016 p.166
  16. ^ Yitzhak Reiter (2008). Jerusalem and Its Role in Islamic Solidarity. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 88. ISBN 9780230607828.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Qudsday". Archived from the original on October 28, 2003.
  19. ^ "This is why people are burning effigies of Donald Trump in Iran today". The Independent. June 8, 2018.
  20. ^ Yitzhak Reiter, Jerusalem and Its Role in Islamic Solidarity, Springer, 2008 p.142.
  21. ^ Yitzhak Reiter (2008). Jerusalem and its role in Islamic solidarity. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 142. ISBN 9780230607828.
  22. ^ a b "Jerusalem Day". Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. September 16, 2009. Archived from the original on September 23, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  23. ^ Iranians rally on 'al-Quds Day', aljazeera.net, (September 18, 2009 )
  24. ^ Iran eyewitness: protest videos, BBC, (September 18, 2009)
  25. ^ Roger Howard, Iran in Crisis?: The Future of the Revolutionary Regime and the US Response, Zed Books (2004). ISBN 978-1-84277-475-5. p. 49.
  26. ^ Weinthal, Benjamin (June 9, 2018). "Heavy turnout at al-Quds rally in Berlin calls for Israel's destruction". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  27. ^ Sommerlad, Joe (June 8, 2018). "This is why people are burning effigies of Donald Trump in Iran today". The Independent. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  28. ^ "ADL Raises Concern About Potential For Hate Speech at Anti-Israel Protests Taking Place in 18 U.S. Cities". Anti-Defamation League. June 23, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  29. ^ Fassihi, Farnaz (May 22, 2020). "Virus Lockdown Forces Iran Into Its First Virtual Quds Day". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2020.

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