- Title: Muslims pray in thousands, heed coronavirus warnings at Jerusalem holy site
- Date: 13th March 2020
- Summary: JERUSALEM (FEBRUARY 28, 2020) (REUTERS) MUSLIMS PRAYING AT AL-AQSA COMPOUND LATE FEBRUARY JERUSALEM (MARCH 13, 2020) (REUTERS) MUSLIMS PRAYING AT AL-AQSA COMPOUND CURRENT DAY WOMAN WEARING MASK WALKING NEAR DOME OF THE ROCK VARIOUS OF VOLUNTEERS AT AL-AQSA COMPOUND SPRAYING SANITIZER ON WORSHIPPER'S HANDS WORSHIPPER SCRUBBING HIS HANDS WITH SANITIZER VIEW OF SOME OF DOME OF THE ROCK MEN TALKING TO EACH OTHER (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) WORSHIPPER, FAKHRI ABU DIAB, SAYING: "There is a difference with the number of people who have arrived for the prayers. The numbers are a lot less which could be due to quarantine reasons, fear from big gatherings or even because of the bad weather all over the country. I think that in Islamic law it is okay for the worshipper to not come for prayers if it is necessary and prevents from spreading diseases." VARIOUS OF MAN PRAYING WITH MASK ON VARIOUS OF MAN PRAYING NEXT TO DOME OF THE ROCK VIEW OF DOME OF THE ROCK (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) WORSHIPPER ABU HAMZEH AL-MUGHRABI, SAYING: "I support them (worshippers) to continue to come and pray and for them to insist on coming to al-Aqsa compound while taking precautions when it comes to being clean, sterilize and use their own prayer rug, for me, I prayed on my coat." VARIOUS OF MEN PRAYING, ONE MAN WEARING MASK MEN PRAYING VARIOUS OF VIEW OF DOME OF THE ROCK VARIOUS OF WORSHIPPERS LEAVING AL-AQSA COMPOUND, ISRAELI POLICE WITH MASK ON
- Embargoed: 27th March 2020 15:26
- Keywords: Coronavirus Friday prayers Islam Palestinians
- Location: JERUSALEM
- City: JERUSALEM
- Country: Jerusalem
- Topics: Health/Medicine,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4VY9MV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Muslims gathered in smaller-than-usual numbers at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on Friday (March 13) after religious authorities decided to keep Islam's third holiest site open for prayers but enact health measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Thousands of worshippers, some wearing face masks, were asked to keep their distance from one another as they filed into the Old City compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews as the Temple Mount.
In Israel 126 cases of the disease have been reported and another 35 in the occupied West Bank.
Israel has banned gatherings of more than 100 people and some religious authorities, including the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, have moved to implement crowd controls at places of worship.
But the Jordan-appointed council that oversees Islamic sites on Jerusalem's sacred compound kept it open for Friday prayers, encouraging faithful to congregate on the 35-acre complex's outdoor grounds rather than inside its covered shrines.
"Whoever has this sickness, this virus, needs to keep their distance so it won't spread. This is an obligation for Muslims," Sheikh Mohammad Hussein said in his sermon.
The Waqf council reassured worshippers in a statement that the entire compound, including its golden Dome of the Rock shrine, was being "sterilised continuously".
Muslim faithful believe the site to be where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. Jews revere it as the site of the Jewish temples of antiquity. It is one of the most sensitive venues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
(Production: Ammar Awad, Sinan abu Mayzer, Suheir Sheikh)
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