WHAT THE POPE WON’T BE SEEING…. MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS ARE DENIED ACCESS TO JERUSALEM SHRINES
Posted by musliminsuffer on May 12, 2009
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
Muslims, Christians Denied Al-Quds Shrines
OCCUPIED AL-QUDS — Like most Christians in the occupied West Bank, Fadi Hazboun, who lives in Bethlehem, is denied free access to Christian holy places in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem), such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Hazboun, 35, says Al-Quds has been effectively off-limit to most Palestinians since the 1993 Oslo Accords.
“It is probably naïve to expect true religious freedom under a sinister military occupation,” he contends.
“After all, the occupation and freedom are an oxymoron since the former is meant to hurt, harm, torment, savage and kill.”
Last month, during the Easter holiday, Israel denied most Palestinian Christians entry to Al-Quds under the pretext of “security considerations.”
Some were reportedly beaten up by Israeli occupation soldiers and policemen.
Elderly Christians who have lived through the British mandate and Jordanian eras say that never before has their freedom to access their holy shrines in Al-Quds been so restricted as is it now under the Israeli occupation.
“We lived under Islam for 1400 years and not once did Muslims prevent us from accessing our churches,” says Jeryes, 80.
Israel captured and occupied Al-Quds in the six-day 1967 war, then annexed it in a move not recognized by the world community or UN resolutions.
The city is home to some of the holiest Christian worship places including the ancient Jerusalem Church and Greek Orthodox Church.
Al-Quds is also home to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Islam’s third holiest shrine Al-Aqsa Mosque, and represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Palestinians insist the city will be the capital of their future independent state.
Muse Darwish, the Muslim director of the Al-Liqa Ecumenical Center for Religious Studies in Bethlehem, accuses Israel of “wanton disregard” for the religious rights of Christians and Muslims alike.
“Imagine I have not been able to reach Al-Quds for a brief prayer at the Aqsa Mosque,” he said.
“The last time I could reach Al-Quds was eight years ago. Now, in order to reach Al-Quds you need to obtain a special permit from the Shin Beth,” added Darwish, referring to the notorious Israeli domestic intelligence agency.
“But the permit is in the mouth of the lion.”
Darwish gainsaid the Israeli security rationale for denying most Palestinians access to their holy places in Al-Quds.
“Israel is occupying Palestinian land and has no right to deny us access to the city, our city, and especially the holy places.
“In my opinion, Israel is trying to implant in the collective Palestinian and Arab consciousness that Al-Quds is a Jewish city and that we can’t reach the city and pray at our holy places unless we are allowed by the Jews.”
Like Hazboun, Darwish says it is futile to expect religious freedom or any other freedom under the yoke of the Israeli occupation.
“Israel wants to Judaize Al-Quds as much as possible and in order to do that Israel must first obliterate the Arab, Islamic-Christian demographic and cultural identity of the city,” he explains.
“Hence, I can say that barring Palestinian Christians and Muslims from entering the city should be viewed in this context.”
Since its occupation, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinian inhabitants of Al-Quds out, including systematic demolition of their homes.
“The Jews want to stamp Al-Quds with the Jewish seal without any consideration whatsoever for the rights of Christians and Muslims,” fumes Walid Suleiman, a noted Muslim preacher in the West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron).
“That is the crux of the issue.”
Suleiman pointed out that when Israel allowed Muslims to reach Al-Haram Al-Sharif as many as half a million Muslim worshipers converged on the city for the Friday prayers, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.
“This created a lot of hatred and nervousness in the hearts of many Jews who began to realize that Al-Quds was also important to Muslims.”
He laments that the Israeli occupation regime has succeeded in drastically reducing the number of people allowed into Al-Quds.
“They hope that reduced Muslim presence in Al-Quds, particularly at the Haram, would facilitate Israeli designs to partition the Haram plaza between Jews and Muslims as they had done to the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil.”
Soon after Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish terrorist serving in the Israeli army, murdered 29 Muslim worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994, Israel partitioned the Mosque between Jewish settlers and Muslims.
Fr. Jamal Khadr, a prominent Catholic leader in the West Bank and Professor of Divinity at Bethlehem University, laments that Christians from around the world are allowed into Al-Quds while Christians who live just outside the holy city are denied the right to visit and pray at its holy places.
“This is more than unfair. It is ugly.”
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW