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Saudi Arabia detains people for publicly praying for Gaza

Nov. 15, 2023
Two persons, an Algerian and a Turkish sheikh, were detained by the police in Saudi Arabia this week after they reportedly publicly prayed for Gaza and Palestine, during their pilgrimage.

A sheikh of Algerian origin was detained by police in Madinah, Saudi Arabia for reportedly praying for Palestine and its people.

In a viral video, the sheikh narrates his ordeal ,stating that he was detained for six hours by the Saudi Arabia police at the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid-i-Nabavi) for praying for the people of Palestine.

The sheikh states that he did not make the call and prayer on video but only shared with people that he had prayed for Palestinians in the land of the two holy mosques for Muslims.

“I consider it an honour that I was detained in the city of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. Is it a crime to pray for the weak, and the oppressed, as hospitals and mosques are destroyed? Little children were killed and slaughtered. Doesn’t this require us to pray? We pray in the most honourable places. Is it dangerous?” asks the sheikh as he cautions people to keep their prayers between themselves and their God.

A local court reportedly ruled to confiscate his phone and refer him to the Guidance Office in the Holy Mosque, Madinah before releasing him.

This is not the first instance in the recent past where people have been detained for openly showing their support to Palestine.

In another case, this week, a Turkish sheikh, Mustafa Evi was reportedly arrested in Makkah, by the Haramain police over his calls for Gaza and Palestine, while he was performing Umrah.

“They arrested me now in Makkah because of my mention of the words Gaza and Palestine,” said Sheikh Mustafa in a video.

Another man, Islah Abdur-Rahman, a British Bangladeshi film director, actor, singer and screenwriter was detained in Makkah for wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh (scarf).

On October 31, Islah shared in an Instagram post that he was detained in Makkah for an hour and a half for wearing the Palestinian scarf and beads of the colour of the flag.

“They were unclear why they were taking me, escorted me to an offsite location. After interrogating me, checking my papers, etc. It turns out it was because I was wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh (scarf) and had Palestinian-coloured beads in my hand,” said Islah narrating his experience.

“I was scared to begin with, then stayed calm and watched them have conversations about me, laugh in my face and simply abuse their power. They eventually confiscated it from me and let me go,” he added.

Islah expressed his disappointment that the scarf and ornament were gifts from his aunt that were brought from Jerusalem, adding that he was heartbroken because it was an issue in a Muslim country. “But this is the reality of how Palestinians don’t have a voice!” said Islah.

It is to be noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia prohibits displaying flags of other nations. It also reportedly prohibits publicly praying for the people of Palestine, including at the two holy sites in the country.

 

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