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Worshippers being barred from Al-Aqsa

by Zahid Jadwat

Another Ramadan of harassment at the hands of apartheid forces for Palestinians. While bombs rain down on Gaza, incidents of harassment are a regular feature at the Al Aqsa compound in Jerusalem.

Speaking from the historic city, Salaamedia’s Mariam Mia said she encountered a “sombre Masjid-Al-Aqsa”. She said locals have reported the number of worshippers had halved compared to previous years, as Israeli occupation forces crack down.

On Friday, teargas lingered in the air as occupiers arrested eight worshippers. They were among thousands who gathered to pray on the final Friday of Ramadan, the holy month marked by calamity for the people of Palestine this year.


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Speaking alongside Mia, Uzma Sataar, visiting from the United Kingdom (UK), lamented the many incidents of Palestinians being turned away during her stay.

“Majority of the West Bank Palestinians have not been allowed to come,” she said, adding, “They’re normally only allowed to come in Ramadan, which is also quite upsetting for us because this is the only time the Palestinians are allowed to come together and celebrate Ramadan together”.

Mia further praised the Palestinians for their “patience and perseverance” at the hands of their oppressors. She said they were routinely stopped on their way to prayer, and interrogated.

“Every salah, they get stopped [and] asked ‘Where are you from?’ They are locals. This is their land. This is their home. They get stopped just going to pray salah … at the behest of some young, ignorant foreigner that comes here, tells you no, you can’t, just because they feel like it.”

She urged Muslims to defend the first qibla, as it was the duty of the ummah to do so. Meanwhile, in Gaza, Eid Al-Fitr is marred by air raids and food being denied to a population whose plates have gone empty.

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