Mus­lim lead­ers tell faith­ful to re­turn to Jerusalem shrine

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

MUS­LIM lead­ers told the faith­ful to re­turn to pray in­side a ma­jor Jerusalem holy site on Thurs­day af­ter Is­rael re­moved se­cu­rity de­vices it in­stalled out­side en­trances to the shrine fol­low­ing a deadly Palestinian at­tack at the com­pound.

Thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans had been pray­ing in the streets out­side the shrine to protest the se­cu­rity mea­sures since the cri­sis be­gan.

“Af­ter ex­ten­sive dis­cus­sion and af­ter achiev­ing this vic­tory in this round we call on our peo­ple in Jerusalem and in­side (Is­rael) and any­one who can ac­cess the Al-aqsa Mosque to en­ter ... en masse,” the Is­lamic lead­ers de­clared in a state­ment.

The head of the Supreme Is­lamic Com­mit­tee, Ikrema Sabri, said the first prayers would be held there Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

Ab­del Azim Sal­hab, of the Waqf, Jor­dan’s re­li­gious body that ad­min­is­ters the site, said “We call on Imams to close all mosques in Jerusalem Fri­day in or­der for all wor­ship­pers to pray Fri­day prayer in Al-aqsa mosque only.”

Fri­day prayers are the high­light of the Mus­lim re­li­gious week. Thou­sands of Mus­lims from around the coun­try and Palestinian ar­eas typ­i­cally wor­ship at the holy com­pound in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Sla­hab said all de­vices had been re­moved from the en­trances but didn’t know if se­cu­rity cam­eras that had been mounted on the wall of the com­pound were also dis­man­tled. He said if they are there then “we re­ject it.”

Is­rael in­stalled the new se­cu­rity mea­sures ear­lier this month af­ter Palestinian gun­men shot and killed two po­lice of­fi­cers from within the site.

It said the se­cu­rity mea­sures were nec­es­sary to prevent more at­tacks and are stan­dard pro­ce­dure to en­sure safety at sites around the world. Pales­tini­ans claimed Is­rael was try­ing to ex­pand its con­trol over the site.

The is­sue sparked some of the worst street clashes in years and threat­ened to draw Is­rael into con­flict with other Arab and Mus­lim na­tions.

Pales­tini­ans danced, chanted and set off fire­works af­ter some se­cu­rity de­vices were re­moved – AP

Of­fi­cers from the Ha­mas na­tional se­cu­rity force carry a model of the Al Aqsa Mosque while march­ing, in in Gaza City on July 26. Photo: AP

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