Rows of people kneeling in prayer

Tens of thousands attend Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

On April 5, the final Friday in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan this year — a special time for Muslims worldwide — more than 3,500 Israeli police were deployed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Here, an estimated 57,000 Muslims attended Friday prayers. 

The World

The final Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan — April 5 this year — is a special day for Muslims worldwide.

Laylat Al-Qadr — or “Night of Power” — is when Muslims believe the Quran was first sent down from heaven.

On Friday in the Old City of Jerusalem, more than 3,500 Israeli police were deployed ahead of afternoon prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque where an estimated 57,000 Muslims attended Friday prayers.

The mosque can hold more than 400,000 people.

people near path
People gathering near Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday afternoon.Fuad AbuGosh/The World

One of the entry points into the Old City is Jaffa Gate, where shops line a narrow walkway.

people near mosque
People gathering near Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday afternoon.Fuad AbuGosh/The World

This path is usually jam-packed. But this Friday, things on the walkway weren’t quite the same.

That’s because it’s no longer easy to get into the Old City — as a result of age restrictions and arduous stopping points during travel, Fuad AbuGosh, a local journalist based in Jerusalem, explained to The World’s Matthew Bell.

Even to get to Jerusalem, travelers encounter several checkpoints where they must stop to present documents, AbuGosh said.

people near mosque
People gathering near Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday afternoon.Fuad AbuGosh/The World

Sometimes, it’s a long wait — and many are giving up and staying in the West Bank, he added.

To hear the full conversation about Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, click on the audio player above.


 

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