A man walks in front of the Dome of the Rock
A man walks in front of the Dome of the Rock
Photo: Reuters
A man walks in front of the Dome of the Rock

Ramadan prayers banned at al-Aqsa mosque due to virus

Ban on Muslim prayer at the 35-acre complex is effectively an extension of an existing order; Waqf urges parishioners to pray at home 'to preserve safety'; order includes closure of all mosques in the Gaza Strip and West Bank

Reuters |
Published: 04.16.20, 23:28
Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound will be closed to Muslim worshippers throughout the holy fasting month of Ramadan due to the coronavirus epidemic, Muslim clerics at the site said on Thursday.
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  • Ramadan typically draws tens of thousands of Muslims daily to the mosque and the adjoining Dome of the Rock for evening prayers known as Taraweeh. Muslim faithful believe the site to be where the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven.
    3 View gallery
    A man walks in front of the Dome of the Rock
    A man walks in front of the Dome of the Rock
    A man walks in front of the Dome of the Rock
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The decision to ban Muslim prayer at the 35-acre complex, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and site of the Jewish temples of antiquity, extends a March 23 ban on Muslim prayer there.
    In a statement, the Waqf, a Jordan-appointed council that oversees Islamic sites on the sacred compound called the decision "painful" but said it was "in line with legal fatwas (clerical opinions) and medical advice".
    Muslims should "perform prayers in their homes during the month of Ramadan, to preserve their safety," the council said.
    3 View gallery
    מחסומים בכניסה לכרמיאל
    מחסומים בכניסה לכרמיאל
    A police checkpoint in Karmiel during the seventh day of Passover
    (Photo: Eyal Man )
    Ramadan will start around April 23.
    In one sign of normalcy, the Muslim call to prayer will still take place five times daily at the site during Ramadan, and religious workers will still be allowed entry, the statement added.
    Last week, Jews marking Passover in Jerusalem and across Israel were required to stay at home and celebrate only with immediate family.
    Typically large Passover prayers at Jerusalem's Western Wall, the holiest place Jews are allowed to pray in the city, were attended by only a handful of worshippers.
    3 View gallery
    חיטוי מסגדים ברמאללה
    חיטוי מסגדים ברמאללה
    Palestinian health workers disinfecting a church
    (Photo: Reuters)
    At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, what are usually festive, pilgrim-filled Easter ceremonies at the shrine revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial have been marked by small groups of clergy, often wearing face masks.
    Israel has reported at least 140 deaths and nearly 12,600 cases of coronavirus. There have been two deaths and nearly 300 cases in the Palestinian Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
    All mosques in Gaza have been closed since March 25, and since March 14 in the West Bank.

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