PA's Grand Mufti issues fatwa banning Muslims from praying at al-Aqsa
“It is forbidden for a Muslim to arrive in a plane of the United Arab Emirates to Ben Gurion Airport, in order to come and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque."
By DONNA RACHEL EDMUNDS
The Palestinian Authority's Grand Mufti has issued a fatwa banning Muslims from praying at al-Aqsa Mosque within the framework of the UAE-Israel peace deal.Muslims from outside Israel and the Palestinian territories are now able to visit the mosque to pray, under the conditions of the recent deal normalizing relations between Israel and the UAE. However, the Palestinian Authority considers the deal a betrayal of its cause, and religious leaders have declared that any Muslim visiting the site, considered the third holiest in Islam, is a traitor.“We absolutely won’t accept the [UAE’s] treason. One grain of sand from the soil of pure Palestine and from the soil of Al-Aqsa Mosque is more precious than our blood and our lives," Supreme Sharia Judge Mahmoud al-Habbash said on official PA TV on Saturday, according to a translation by Palestinian Media Watch.He continued: "Whoever wants to come visit the Aqsa Mosque through the gate of Palestine: Welcome, and we will rejoice over him. But whoever wants to come through the Israeli gate is unwanted, and he will find nothing but the shoes of the people of Jerusalem and the spit of the people of Jerusalem in his face."Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti went further. Appearing on Palestine This Morning, which is broadcast on official Palestinian Authority TV, he told viewers: “It is forbidden for a Muslim to arrive in a plane of [either] the United Arab Emirates or not of the United Arab Emirates to the Lod Airport [in Israel], which today they call Ben-Gurion Airport, in order to come and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. This is false marketing in terms of religious law: legally false, religiously offensive.”The following day, Turkey's Anadolu News Agency reported: “Sheikh Muhammad Hussein issued a fatwa (religious ruling) determining that praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the framework of the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE is 'forbidden.' Hussein said that... ‘Praying at the Aqsa Mosque is open to all those who arrive through the legal Palestinian gate, and not to those who carry out normalization.’”THE LEADERS have made it clear that they consider Muslims praying at the mosque under the agreement to have betrayed not only the Palestinian cause, but the Prophet Mohammed himself.Advertisement"One grain of sand from the soil of pure Palestine and from the soil of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is more precious than our blood and our lives," Habbash said on PA TV. "What happened is treason... This is treachery."Not just against the Palestinian people: This is a denial of the heritage of Prophet Muhammad... Are Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque goods that are sold in the market of political prostitution?" he asked. The UAE "have sold Jerusalem, have relinquished Jerusalem, and are trying to market their treason as them opening the door for the worshipers to come and pray in Jerusalem," he said.Both he and PLO Executive Committee secretary Saeb Erekat railed against normalization between Israel and the Arab nations, insisting that the deal is a betrayal of the Palestinian cause, implying that violence could follow.On August 16, the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida quoted Erekat as saying: “Normalization with Israel is a prize for the occupation’s crimes,” adding that the PA/PLO “will not agree to them stabbing us in the back with a poisoned knife and telling us that this is for our benefit.”"Normalization is treason," Habbash said. "Normalization means that you agree to natural relations with your brother’s murderers and your father’s murderers. That you agree to natural relations with the enemies of Prophet Muhammad. That you agree to natural relations with those who want the site of Muhammad’s Night Journey to turn into a Temple. "We’ll continue to resist even if we’ll all be killed and slaughtered," he said. "Palestine will only be ours, Jerusalem will only be ours, and this occupation will pass and leave like every occupation that preceded it.”Palestinian Media Watch highlighted in a statement that this may be understood as a call to violence against Israel and the UAE, given Habbash's previous teaching that the Koran commands that enemies must be killed. Anyone who “comes to attack me... my home... my land... I am commanded to fight him... I am allowed to kill him,” he said.