Visiting the Western Wall, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, as a Muslim Woman

Sept. 22 2015

In light of the latest outbursts of violence in Jerusalem, Qanta Ahmed reflects on visiting the Temple Mount and the spirit of intolerance that dominates much of contemporary Islam:

My first visit to al-Aqsa, and to the Dome, and to the Western Wall was in the month of May just two years ago. Because I am privileged in the eyes of Israel as a Muslim, I could visit, and worship at all three, while I could not offer the same opportunity to a Jew. . . [Yet] I still feel the sharp rejection of the bearded sentry at the Dome of the Rock, [and] my humiliation as the sentry challenged and rankly tested evidence of my Islamic identity. . . .

The experience tainted my entire visit to the Dome of the Rock. Even deep inside the cave within the Rock, as I prayed, the harassment continued. As [my guide] stood respectfully to one side to avoid observing my prayer (as is customary for a Muslim man) he was ceaselessly heckled by boorish Muslim women chastising him for not praying.

Later, approaching the Kotel with my handwritten page-long prayer, I was struck by the contrast, the quiet acceptance among Jewish women I was afforded. Women who asked not whom I worshiped, nor how I prayed, but merely understood through my gestures my desire. For them it was enough that I wished to stand among them as we prayed to our Maker. . . . I invited no harassment, no scrutiny, no challenge, no rancor. . . .

By contrast, the territorial and ruthless domination of the public space, of public worship, of external religiosity, is a hallmark of Islamism. The policing of belief, and that of believers, is an archetypal feature. Forbidding worshippers from entering holy sites in Islam, including non-conforming or pluralist Muslims who reject both the ideology and accouterments of Islamism, is an impassioned pastime of fervent Islamists who foolishly believe [that] only they are the arbiters of faith [and] only they the guardians to our Creator.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: High Holidays, Islam, Judaism, Prayer, Religion & Holidays, Temple Mount, Western Wall

Hamas’s Tactics of Attrition and Extortion Are Paying Off

Feb. 21 2020

In January, the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh visited Iran after promising the Egyptian government that he would not. Cairo responded by cutting exports of cooking gas and tires to the Gaza Strip. Facing a possible domestic crisis, the terrorist group recently resumed sending balloon-borne explosives into Israel, and allowed other jihadists to fire rockets. The move succeeded, despite retaliatory strikes by the IDF, writes Elior Levy:

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Read more at Ynet

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, Israeli Security