Al-Azhar denounces 'Zionist storming' of Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron as 'assault on Islamic sanctities'

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 Dec 2021

Al-Azhar, the world's leading Sunni Muslim religious institution, condemned the Sunday storming of the sacred Ibrahimi Mosque in the Palestinian city of Al-Khalil (Hebron) by the Israeli president and Jewish settlers, describing it as “a blatant aggressive act” and “an assault on Islamic sanctities.”

 Isaac Herzog
Israeli President Isaac Herzog storm the Ibrahimi Mosque accompanied by settler leaders and Knesset members. Courtesy of the Palestine Chronicle

“Al-Azhar strongly condemns the storming of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank by the president of the Zionist entity with the aid of security forces from the Zionist enemy army,” according to a statement released on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog — accompanied by security forces, Jewish settler leaders, and Knesset members — stormed the mosque to “light a candle” to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Muslims attach great value to the Ibrahimi Mosque that was built in 1320 AD, as they believe that it was built over the caves containing the tombs of Prophet Abraham and his family.

According to the Palestinian WAFA news agency, the Israeli army closed the mosque’s gates and prevented Palestinian residents from praying or standing nearby. They also closed shops as well as obstructed and assaulted press crews that were trying to document the attack.

“Al-Azhar affirms that these blatant aggressive practices are an assault on Islamic sanctities and a miserable attempt to create a new reality in the occupied Arab Palestinian lands and will only increase the Palestinian people’s steadfastness and strength and adherence to their rights, land, and religious sanctities.”

Hebron is the largest city in the occupied West Bank with a population of over 215,000 Palestinians.

Several hundred heavily armed Jewish settlers are concentrated in the centre of the city and regularly attack Palestinians and storm the mosque.

In 2017, the UNESCO recognised the West Bank’s Hebron as a world heritage site.

The world heritage body’s decision has been hailed by Palestinian officials as a diplomatic victory against pressure from Israel and the US to derail the vote.

Al-Azhar called on the international community and all governments worldwide to assume their responsibilities to put an end to such violations and provocations and to respect the feelings of nearly two billion Muslims around the world.

On Tuesday, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also condemned the storming, describing it as part of a plan to take control of the city.

The OIC said the storming of the mosque is “a provocation of Muslims’ sensibilities and a continuation of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people’s rights, land, and holy sites.”

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