Israeli police silence call to prayer at Al-Aqsa on first day of Ramadan

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Credit: RM / Shutterstock.com

Israeli police cut the electricity to the loudspeakers at four minarets in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Tuesday, silencing the Ishaa adhaan on the first day of Ramadan.

Even though they have refused to comment on the matter, it appears they did this so as not to disturb an Israeli national remembrance for fallen soldiers at the nearby Western Wall.

Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, said the actions were violations of agreements about the shared use of the site, revered by Jews as the location of the ancient second Jewish temple and by Muslims as the place the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ascended to heaven.

Safadi said that the provocations “included breaking the locks of the mosque’s doors, namely the door of the Chain Gate and the door leading to the roof of the Islamic museum, as well as cutting the wires of the external speakers in the western part of Al-Haram.”

The ministry’s spokesperson, Daifallah al-Fayez, confirmed that it had issued an official protest.

The move reportedly came after officials of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian agency that oversees Jerusalem’s holy sites, refused to voluntarily turn off loudspeakers. They said the Israelis had wanted quiet while soldiers prayed at the Western Wall.

Al-Fayez described the Israeli actions as a “provocation against Muslims around the world and a violation of international law and the historical status quo.”

The evening call to prayer began at 8:29 p.m., a half hour after a ceremony had begun in which newly inducted soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces prayed at the Western Wall with high-ranking officials looking on.

Israel is a signatory to numerous international treaties obliging it to respect the sanctity of holy places. The walls and the holy places in the Old City of Jerusalem are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and all parties are obliged to respect them without any change to the status quo.

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