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Jerusalem Muslim celebrations marred by Israeli police suppression

Jerusalem24 – Palestinian Jerusalemites took to the streets in and around the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem yesterday to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Mohammad, but soon faced dispersal, assaults and arrests by Israeli forces.

The birth of the Prophet is an important religious holiday for Muslims. Children dressed in traditional Palestinian attire watched scout troops marching and performing through the streets and alleys of the Old City amid strict measures imposed by Israeli authorities, and Muslims gathered in large numbers both in Bab Al-Amoud and in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, where scenes of sharing foods, singing and eating sweets soon reached social media.

Palestinian children dressed in traditional clothing watch the scounts' parade in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, Saturday 8 October 2022. [Source: Ramallah News]
Palestinian children dressed in traditional clothing watch the scouts’ parade in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, Saturday 8 October 2022. [Source: Ramallah News]
The scouts’ march began from Al-Zahraa Street, passing through Sallah El-Din and Sultan Suleiman Streets, reaching Bab Al-Amoud, and ending on the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The merchants of the Old City distributed sweets to participants in the march. The whole was interspersed with prophetic praises from local religious groups.

A Palestinian child watches the scouts’ parade in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, Saturday 8 October 2022. [Source: Ramallah News]
Scouts march and perform in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, Saturday 8 October 2022. [Source: Ramallah News]
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The markets of the old town witnessed a commercial revivification in conjunction with the anniversary of the Prophet’s birthday, as thousands of Muslims from Jerusalem and elsewhere flocked to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Department of Islamic Endowments of Jerusalem (Waqf) also celebrated the Prophet’s birthday in the Al-Qibli prayer hall with religious songs and stories, and a biography of the Prophet’s life.

Palestinian Muslims gather in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad, Saturday 8 October 2022. [Source: Ramallah News]
Israeli forces soon stormed the grounds at Al-Aqsa however, as well as Bab Al-Amoud where thousands were gathered, and suppressed the celebrations with a wastewater vehicle which sprayed the crowds.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported four injuries due to physical assault.

Israeli forces arrested a total of seven Palestinian men and one woman.

Jerusalemites no strangers to disruptions of celebrations

This year, the birth of the Prophet falls between several important religious Jewish holidays. But while Jewish Israelis have been freely celebrating their traditions in the streets of occupied East Jerusalem (even as Palestinians witness an increase in restrictions on freedom of movement and gathering), yesterday’s events are only the latest in a series of Palestinian Christian and Muslim religious holidays that have been marred by Israeli authorities’ actions.

Speaking to Jerusalem24 over the Jewish New Year at the end of September, Jerusalemite activist Adnan Barq recalled how Palestinian Christians were prevented from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to pray on the last Holy Fire Saturday.

Adnan explained that in conjunction with restrictions on freedom of worship for Palestinians, security measures are also increased, while Jewish prayer is enabled and encouraged by Israeli authorities. “You see how they are preventing Muslims from entering [Al-Aqsa Mosque] while Jewish people can have their tours inside,” said Adnan. “It’s really painful because for us Al-Aqsa is not only a religious place to pray. […] We talk about the place where we grew up, and where we hang out. It means everything for us.”

Video documentation of both the celebrations and their suppression by Israeli forces were widely shared on social media.

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