PA daily slams Israel for closing mosques, Hamas for not closing mosques
The Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque are seen from Silwan.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
The PA Religious Affairs Ministry has recommended that Palestinians should avoid mosques and instead pray at home due to the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The official Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida slamming Israel on Sunday for closing mosques during the coronavirus outbreak - while simultaneously slamming Hamas for keeping mosques open.The lead article adorning Al-Hayat Al-Jadida's front page detailed the Islamic Wakf Council's criticism of Israel for fining the council's chairman Abdul Azim Salhab NIS 5,000 for not closing the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount on Friday. According to the article, Salhab claimed that Israel was simply taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak, exploiting it as a means to harm Muslims by closing the mosque. He added that the Wakf opposed the closure and will keep it open for worshipers "so that they will pray in the optimal manner that protects their health and welfare," Palestinian Media Watch reported.The Wakf later agreed to close the mosques, but not for individual Wakf members, who continue to pray at the site, though keeping a distance from one another.It should be noted that the PA Religious Affairs Ministry has recommended that Palestinians should avoid mosques and instead pray at home due to the risk of contracting COVID-19.
However, the accompanying editorial criticised Hamas for refusing to close mosques and not follow the PA's steps to contain the coronavirus outbreak.“The greatest sources of authority in the Arab world on everything connected to the Islamic religious rulings have all ruled that it is permitted to pray at home, and that one should not go to the mosques these days. This is in order to prevent contact, which is one of the most dangerous paths of spreading the life-threatening coronavirus," the editorial stated, according to PMW.Hamas “only recognizes [their own] party religious rulings... And therefore they are currently attempting to break the [PA] government’s steps to quarantine the coronavirus, including a temporary closure [by the PA] of the mosques so that the dangerous virus will not spread among the worshipers.” In addition, the paper also published an op-ed piece by Muwaffaq Matar, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, which further condemned Hamas for keeping mosques open."We think that this is part of [Hamas's] satanic plot, so that afterwards they will be able to depict themselves as those who insist on performing their worship and religious ceremonies, and as those who are persecuted and oppressed for this – as if they do not know that what they are doing is a criminal act, more severe than the crimes of the terror groups and organizations that kill with weapons, gunfire, and explosions, while they – by transgressing the law and the new decisions – become part of the tools and weapons of the enemy [the coronavirus]," the op-ed stated.