Friday, June 04, 2010

Israeli Authorities Deny Muslim Worshipers the Right to Pray at Al Aqsa

You'd think that killing 18 people would be enough, wouldn't you? Well, never underestimate Israel.

"We've made good time," my friend F. made. She was right. We made it from Hebron into Jerusalem in about an hour and a half. There had been no hold up at the checkpoints. We were feeling good.

Then we entered Jerusalem.

"What on earth is going on?" I said. "It's the police. They're stopping Friday prayers." replied F.

Again, she was right. As I walked into Jerusalem I passed hundred, and hundreds of Muslims praying in the streets. At checkpoints. Around the walls of Jerusalem. On the sidewalk. Hundreds and hundreds of people, all denied to right to access Al Aqsa mosque. All told by Israeli police that they were a security risk. All pulling out their prayer mats and praying in the street. Behind them stood Israeli riot people, sitting on horses, masks down and guns at the ready.

I'll be honest - I became angry. How dare Israel deny these people access to their holy places? What's the advantage of keeping people away from their mosque? Don't they know they're trying to keep Palestinians away the force that gives them the strength to be merciful and the patience to survive? Why can't the Israeli government be content to kill the people on the freedom flotilla? Surely that's enough suffering for a few days. The hubris of it all.

Then the call to prayer came out from Al Aqsa, floating over the city. "Allahu Akbar" it said. God is greater. God is greater. And I sent up my own prayers as I watched hundreds of people bow before God.

"Go get a coffee," said F. I smiled and nodded.

Whatever, Israel. You're not going to stop anyone from praying. You're not going to stop us from bringing aid to Gaza. You're not going to stop Tuwani from bringing electricity to the village. The truth is, I don't see how you can keep this occupation up for long. God is greater.

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