CAIRO: Protestors gathered at Al-Azhar Mosque after the Friday noon prayers to denounce the events at Al-Aqsa Mosque last Sunday when Israeli protestors attempted to storm it on Yom Kippur.
Security forces had managed to prevent many of the protestors from reaching Al-Azhar in the first place and set up a tight security cordon in the area. However, those who were inside the mosque did come out after the prayers were finished to show their solidarity with Al-Aqsa.
Protestors – many of them affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood – chanted against the raid and carried slogans bemoaning the perceived unwillingness of Arab leaders to make a defiant stand in protection of the mosque, considered one of the three holy mosques in Islam.
Professor of medicine at Al-Azhar University and member of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc Mohamed El-Beltagy told the group’s website that Sunday’s raid was to “test the Arab pulse to see if a meek response meant that Israel could continue its plans for dividing Al-Aqsa Mosque.
There have been other protests across the Arab world, as well as in the Gaza Strip where some 3,000 people marched in the street later on the same day of the incident.
In a Sunday raid of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, Israeli troops fired rubber bullets on Palestinian worshippers attempting to halt a protest by Jewish radicals inside the compound of the Mosque.
Four Palestinians were injured and 11 were detained. Israeli soldiers were also injured in the clashes. Around 200 Israeli settlers and Zionist supporters attempted to storm the compound to commemorate the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Israeli security forces entered the compound after the protestors.
An Israeli police spokesman claimed the group inside the compound was not in actual fact, Jewish or Israeli citizens, but rather a group of French tourists whom Palestinian worshippers at the Mosque mistook for the protestors who had amassed outside the mosque earlier that morning.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Dar Al-Iftaa (Religious Ruling Authority) denied that it had issued a Fatwa (religious edict) warning Arab leaders of the punishment in not defending Islamic shrines such as Al-Aqsa as some media reports had stated.
The spokesman for Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, Ibrahim Negm, told Daily News Egypt Friday that Dar Al-Iftaa had said nothing about events in Al-Aqsa or Arab leaders and that the only fatwa it had issued recently was concerning the criminalization of killing civilians and tourists.