Calls for Israeli-Palestinian peace brings march through Bloomington campus

“It is not a conflict. It is a genocide,”
Published: Oct. 25, 2023 at 8:37 PM CDT
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BLOOMINGTON (25News Now) -The conflict in Gaza continues as humanitarian groups struggle to get aid into the territory and tense talks continue, aimed at the release of more than 200 hostages still held by Hamas.

It’s a situation the world is watching, including central Illinois.

Late Wednesday afternoon, college students and members of the Palestinian community gathered to call for peace in Bloomington.

“It’s not about religion... it’s not about Christianity or Islam, we are brothers, and we have to stand here as brothers and sisters together. It is not a conflict, I’m sorry for my emotions here today. It is not a conflict. It is a genocide,” said Saad Palwala of the Islamic Center of McLean County.

Several powerful speeches were delivered to about 100 members of the community marching through Illinois Wesleyan University’s campus in support of Palestinians caught up in the conflict in Gaza.

The long running conflict was reignited when the Hamas terrorist group killed about 1,400 Israelis in an attack on Oct. 7. This became the deadliest day for the Jewish community since the Holocaust.

In weeks since, the Health Ministry claims more than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed in air strikes. It’s believed more than 2,000 of those victims are children.

“Any attack upon any human being is an attack upon any human being. Is an Israeli life more worthy than a Palestinian life,” said Imam Saad Palwala.

While these groups don’t condone the loss of life for either group, Egyptian international student Farah Bassyouni feels Palestinians have been oppressed for years.

Now, people in Gaza are running out of fuel which is necessary to make water safe for them to drink.

“It will take a million speeches to dissect the gross lack of humanity we have seen over the past 7 years. We have received hate and been targeted for our support of Palestine but that will not stop us,” said Farah Bassyouni.