Closing Al-Aqsa Violates Palestinian Religious Freedom

July 20, 2017

Photo by: RonnyPohl (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Photo by: RonnyPohl (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem was shut down this past week after two Israeli policemen were killed. This act sent shock waves throughout the Middle East and the Muslim world. The closure of the mosque is another instantiation of collective punishment, where an entire community is being punished for the acts of an individual. Doing so violates a basic human right, which is the right of people to have access to their houses of worship and holy sites. The Al Aqsa Mosque compound, the second holiest site for Muslims, continues to be under the occupation of the Israeli military. Palestinians in the region are denouncing the closure as a violation of their religious freedom. The US government needs to be clear in its stance on religious freedom and condemn this closure.

Al-Aqsa mosque has been and continues to be a paramount site for Muslims, where thousands pray every day. Its history stems from the early times of Islamic tradition, being the first location, or qibla, to which Muslims directed their prayers. Shutting down the mosque violates the right of Palestinians and Muslims worldwide to practice their faith.

The closure of Al-Aqsa violates international law and Palestinian rights to freely and comfortably practice their religion.



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