We need muslims be there to protect Al-Aqsa
"Muslims are lost from Al-Aqsa. We need the muslims be there. We need to feel safe as we feel before."03 Agustus 2017 08:45
Palestinians have ashar prayer inside Al-Aqsa in the Old City of East Jerusalem, 28 July 2017. (Doc. Albalad.co)
For the Palestinians who are living in the Old City of East Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque is belong to them as all their life are link with the mosque.
As Abir Ziyad, 41 year-old, who lives in the Old City says: All my life there, all my memories there."
She grew up in the Old City and her parent's home is just a hundred metres from Al-Aqsa. She is now living with her husband and children in their home, almost a kilometre from the mosque.
Unfortunately, since Israel capture the Old City in 1967, the freedom of the Palestinians and Al-Aqsa were being limited. To claim the sovereignity of all Jerusalem, include Al-Aqsa, Israeli forces sometimes continue to bar the Palestinians from enter the mosque. But on the other hand, they allow Jews to visit the Western Wall inside Al-Aqsa compound.
As the result of that policy tensions and violences frequently happen in Al-Aqsa and around the Old City. Such as in the past two weeks, after the killing of two Israeli policemen, followed by the closing of Al-Aqsa for two days as well as the cancelation of Friday prayers, the first in the last 48 years.
The violences have broken around the Old City, entire West Bank and at the border of Gaza Strip after Israel use restrictions for the Palestinians to enter Al-Aqsa by putting metal detectors and cameras.
As part of their efforts to conquer the Old City, Israel uses Judaization policies to evict the Palestinians from East Jerusalem in order to create a fact that the number of Jews are living in East Jerusalem are bigger than the Palestinians.
"Muslims are lost from Al-Aqsa. We need the muslims be there. We need to feel safe as we feel before," Abir Ziyad said on Friday last week, in an exclusive interview with Faisal Assegaf from Albalad.co via WhatsApp.
How is the current situation in Al-Aqsa?
The situation in Al-Aqsa Mosque now is they (Israeli security forces) did not allow anyone to enter anyone under 50 yeear old to enter to the mosque. They also did not allow anyone under 50 to enter to the Old City (of East Jerusalem).
So, people from outside of the Old City, the youths was able to pray at the gate of the Old City itself. The youths from the Old City was able to pray just next to the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Only people who are more than 50 are able to enter and pray inside.
Almost most more than 500 persons are banning from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque completely without knowing until when.
Can you enter Al-Aqsa?
I enter yesterday to the Al-Aqsa with old people. Today, I was not able to enter for prayong for Jumat. Just now, after ashar praying, they start allowing people to enter.
Before entering Al-Aqsa, what kind of Israeli security measures you have to pass?
It is different before July 14 and now. Before July 14, we were facing questions, such you are muslim or not. Sometimes you have to give them your identity card until you are out from the mosque. Sometimes they did not allow some ages to enter.
But it was not bad than stop us from entering the mosque. It happened in 2014 that they stop us from entering the mosque, but after we protested on the street, they allowed us to enter the mosque again.
But after July 14, they put metal detectors, cameras at the gate, want to search every person wants to enter, body checking. So it is diffcult to enter and we refused to enter the mosque.
After we decided to enter, everybody was able to enter without checking or stopping us.
Are you a member of murabitin (the protection brigade of Al-Aqsa)?
Al-Murabitin we call it for everybody who are living around the mosque in Jerusalem. So we consider all Jerusalem people are murabitin. But some media try to put this name only for some people that before almost two years was working with islamic movement to come in daily basis to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
So, these people were coming as their job to the mosque, are paid to sit inside the mosque. So, some media start to call them murabitin and not to call the others murabitin, even the other come on daily basis to the mosque without money.
So, murabitin in fact is all the people, not only one group of the people. Anyone who are living in Jerusalem, anyone who are standing for Jerusalem is murabitin.
How far is your home from Al-Aqsa Mosque?
I grew up in my family house which si only a hunderd metres from the mosque. My house now is alomost one kilomtre form the mosque.
Have u been harassed by the Israeli security forces when you were entering Al-Aqsa Mosque?
I have many times for being harassed by the Israeli forces. They had beaten me, broken both of my hands, my ribs, and grabbed my hair point to Al Aqsa Mosque for half of kilometre.
They put my pictures, my information, to bekilled by the settlers.
What is your sweetest memory about Al-Aqsa while you were a kid?
All my memories are inside the mosque because I grew up there. Some of the sweetest memory when I was going there for having a lunch with all the children, playing together.
One of the funniest story when i ran from the school and I did not knwo where to go, then I was waiting inside the mosque until the time finish to go back home. All my study was there, all my life there, all my memories there as a child.
Everything is with the mosque, how we were playing and making problems for the guards, how we were jumping from one tree to another. Al, these things were just inside the mosque.
What do you think was lost from Al-Aqsa?
Muslims are lost from Al-Aqsa. We need the muslims be there. We need to feel safe as we feel before.
Which muslim country do you think has provided frank supports for Al-Aqsa and Palestinians?
Really, Jordan is the most important country because they are responsible for Al-Aqsa. Nowdays, especially in these days that we are facing, Indonesia has sent a lot of help for food. Of course, we need more than just food for the people inside Al-Aqsa who are suffering and we have to take them out.
We encourage Indonesia to take their lead as the biggest muslim country to supports the Palestinians around Al-Aqsa Mosque to continue their standing. We encourage other muslim countries. But really there is no effect to muslim countries in this situation. We hope that we will see in strong way to support the Palestinians.
How many gates in Al-Aqsa?
Nine open gates. (Al-Aqsa has 17 gates).
Can you mention all their names?
Some gates have more than one name. So I will give you main name or the popular name for each gate. I will give you just the names of open gates because we have also the close gates. They are Lisbath Gate, Hubba Gate, King Faisal Gate, Ruwainmi Gate, Nadhir Gate, Iron Gate, Qataniyin Gate, Chain Gate, and Khawanmi Gate.