Jerusalem mosques close in solidarity with al-Aqsa for Eid
Islamic religious authorities in Jerusalem have announced that Eid prayers in the city will only be held at al-Aqsa mosque, in a direct challenge to Israel.
The Supreme Islamic Council and the Jerusalem Council for Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs said that their announcement was in response to threats by Jewish religious extremists to storm the mosque and perform rituals there in order to disrupt Eid prayers.
It is also a response to plans by Israeli authorities to carry out an “assessment” of the situation at the mosque to see whether Jews can enter while Muslims are praying.
All the other mosques in Jerusalem will be closed.
The decision by the Islamic authorities will mean that any Muslim worshippers in Jerusalem wanting to perform Eid prayers will have to go to al-Aqsa Mosque, increasing the number of people there and making it more difficult for settlers and Israeli police to enter the mosque.
The Islamic authorities said that “our Eid in Jerusalem will be one of fortitude”.
Incursions by Israeli religious extremists are a regular occurrence at Muslim mosques in Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Hebron. The Palestinian Authority recorded 75 incidents in the last month alone.
Al-Aqsa is the third most holy site of the Islamic faith.
Eid al-Adha is one of the two major Islamic festivals which occur every year, and coincides with the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
This year, Eid will fall on Sunday.