Monday, September 28th | 10 Tishri 5781

Subscribe
April 25, 2020 10:00 am

Al-Aqsa Preacher’s Voice Echoes Across Jerusalem Devoid of Ramadan Crowds

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

A worshiper walks in front of the Dome of the Rock in the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, March 13, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.

An imam standing atop an 18-foot pulpit in a near-empty Al-Aqsa Mosque delivered the first Friday prayers of Ramadan in Jerusalem, his voice echoing across an empty and windswept plateau almost devoid of worshipers.

In historic scenes rarely, if ever, witnessed at the third-holiest site in Islam, below him knelled only a handful of Muslim clerics in face masks, staying several feet apart because of coronavirus restrictions.

“We ask God to have mercy on us and all of humanity and to save us from this lethal pandemic,” the imam said.

In normal years during Ramadan Friday prayers, Muslim worshipers gather by the tens of thousands on the tree-lined hilltop plateau that lies at the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City and is known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Related coverage

September 27, 2020 9:49 am
0

Israelis Brace for Stringent Holiday Lockdown as Daily Tally of Corona Cases Exceeds 7,500

JNS.org - Israelis braced for a strict nationwide lockdown imposed by the government on Friday in an attempt to curb...

But this year the 35-acre compound around Al-Aqsa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock was almost deserted, just a tiny handful of faithful standing in a short line, rising and kneeling in unison.

Few also turned up outside the walls of the Old City, just 10 people — the maximum allowed by Israeli authorities — praying outside Lion’s Gate facing the Mount of Olives.

Israel has reported nearly 15,000 cases of coronavirus, with 193 deaths. In the Palestinian territories around 350 cases have been confirmed, with two fatalities.

In March, Muslim religious authorities closed the gates to worshipers due to the coronavirus epidemic, and this has been extended throughout Ramadan.

Jewish and Christian religious authorities have imposed similar precautionary measures at their holy sites, including the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

Algemeiner.com

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.