The Moslem World Congress was opened this evening in the Mosque El Aqsa, by the Grand Mufti, who in his opening speech after deploring the decline of Islam and exhorting all Moslem peoples to join together in one union, said that he was happy to open the gathering in the Holy Mosque connected with the Buraq.
Most Moslems are groaning under alien rule, he went on, but the condition of the Holy Land is worst of all because of the Jewish designs in the country. The Grand Mufti urged the delegates to the Congress to war on atheism, and claimed that the best way of doing this was to establish an Islamic seat of learning in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
A number of delegates from Iraq, Egypt, Syria, the Urals, and other countries, spoke in a similar vein.
Shaukat Ali has succeeded at the last minute in arranging a compromise with the leaders of the Palestine Moslem Opposition to the Grand Mufti, which provides that they do not take part in the Congress, but will not interfere with the proceedings. The agreement also provides that the Congress itself will elect the standing committee to conduct the future work of the Congress, instead of leaving it to the Mufti and his supporters, who called the present Congress, to continue to act as a permanent world committee.
The Mayor of Jerusalem, Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, one of the leaders of the opposition, did not attend the Congress to welcome the delegates in his official capacity as had been anticipated, in view of the compromise.
The organisation committee of the Congress has to-day officially informed Mr. Agronski, the Secretary of the Press Correspondents’ Association in Palestine, that it has decided to exclude all Jewish journalists from the Congress, even if they represent non-Jewish papers abroad, but that Christian journalists will be admitted.
DELEGATES COME TO BLOWS.
Delegates come to blows, is the heading over a report of the Congress appearing in to-day’s “Daily Telegraph”. Torrential rain marked the opening stages of the All-Moslem Congress, the report begins. The fact that this terminated one of the severest droughts in Jerusalem is known to be popularly interpreted as Divine approval of the Congress. Its inauguration took place at an afternoon reception, followed by an evening celebration of “Leilet-el-Mirag” (the anniversary of the Prophet’s celestial journey from Mecca to Jerusalem).
An Egyptian delegate, it proceeds, opened his speech with greetings from Nahas Pasha, the leader of the Wafd, pledging his support. An anti-Wafdist protested against what he termed an unwarrantable Wafdist demonstration, whereupon there was an uproar. The anti-Wafdist was attacked, and was only saved by the Mufti placing him in the pulpit. The police intervened, and it was several minutes before the Mufti could secure silence.
Amazing scenes were witnessed at the opening meeting of the Moslem Congress, the “Morning Post” report says. At one point the whole assembly rose to its feet in violent excitement, shouting “Allah, Allah,” and veiled women made shrill cries, while later a delegate who had expressed unpopular views was beaten with sticks, and only saved by the intervention of the Grand Mufti himself.
The outstanding question was that of the protection of the Moslem Holy Places. Dr. Abd el Hamid, an Egyptian delegate, in a fiery speech punctuated by wild gesticulations, shouted, “All present must take an oath to protect this Holy Place with the last drop of their blood”. Immediately the whole assembly rose in an uproar, and the delegates shouted, “Allah, Allah!”. The cry was echoed by the shrill screams of veiled women in the adjoining female mosque.
Egyptian politics came to the fore, the report goes on, when Ab el Rahman Alazam, from Cairo, conveyed the greetings of Nahas Pasha and the Wafd. Suleiman Bey Fawzi, another Egyptian delegate, immediately jumped up shouting, “There is only one man in Egypt and that is King Fuad”. He continued shouting in the furore that followed, and enraged people beat him with sticks until he dropped.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem ran forward, and, standing over Suleiman Bey Fawzi with outstretched arms, protected him as far as he could until the police arrived and carried him out.
Later an Iraqi delegate cried: “It were better that the Islamic world should be obliterated than that this jewel should fall into the hands of enemies”.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.