JERUSALEM, Friday, July 31, 2020 (WAFA) – Over 27,000 Palestinian Muslim worshipers today attended Eid al-Adha prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, said WAFA correspondent.
The worshipers made their way in the early morning hours to the mosque compound to attend the prayers of Eaid al-Adha, the “Festival of the Sacrifice” in English, which is the second of two globally celebrated holidays in Islam, as Israel, the occupying power, imposed a partial lockdown to battle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his sermon, the Grant Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Muhammad Hussein stressed that the mosque compound solely belongs to Muslims, and should not be shared with any “aggressor” or “tyrant”.
He added that the Palestinian people had no alternative but to unite in order to defend their holy sites and territories against foreign occupation.
As part of the precautionary measures to battle the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, worshipers had to wear face masks, maintain physical distancing and bring their own prayer rugs.
This came as settler “Temple Mount” groups urged their followers to force their way into the holy site to commemorate Tisha B’Av Day.
Yesterday, Israeli police detained six Palestinians from inside the mosque compound and assaulted others as groups of settlers barged into it under military control.
In last May, the mosque compound was shuttered on Eid al-Fitr as part of the precautionary measures to curb the spread of the pandemic.
For many Palestinians in Jerusalem and across the occupied Palestinian territory, Ramadan is directly connected to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque.
The third holiest site in Islam, it is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.
While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship at Al-Aqsa is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.
However, right-wing Jewish groups calling for the destruction of the mosque and the construction of a Jewish temple on the site have repeatedly entered the area under heavy police escort.
The visits, combined with proposals for a Knesset vote to divide the site between Jews and Muslims, have outraged the Palestinian public, which sees the encroachment on Al-Aqsa as symptomatic of the wider denial of their rights in historic Palestine as well as intense discrimination in housing, employment, and social services by Israeli authorities.
Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.