- Title: Empty Jerusalem as Ramadan prayers banned at al-Aqsa mosque due to coronavirus
- Date: 24th April 2020
- Summary: JERUSALEM (FILE - MAY 10, 2019) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING THROUGH DAMASCUS GATE FOR PRAYERS DURING RAMADAN DOZENS OF PEOPLE WALKING
- Embargoed: 8th May 2020 08:38
- Keywords: Coronavirus closures Jerusalem Muslim worshippers Ramadan celebrations empty holy fasting month
- Location: JERUSALEM/ BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK
- City: JERUSALEM/ BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001CAUPS1Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The old city of Jerusalem was empty as the holy fasting month of Ramadan started on Friday (April 24). Muslim worshippers are facing Ramadan celebrations without the usual large gatherings for prayers due to coronavirus closures.
Muslim clerics at Islam's third-holiest site have announced that Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound will be closed to Muslim worshippers throughout the holy fasting month.
Checkpoints in the West Bank, usually teeming with Palestinian worshippers wanting to attend Friday prayers during Ramadan, are completely empty this year.
Ramadan typically draws tens of thousands of Muslims daily to the mosque and the adjoining Dome of the Rock for evening prayers known as Taraweeh. Muslim faithful believe the site to be where the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven.
Worshippers will instead have to watch prayers from inside the mosque broadcast on television.
Jerusalem has sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and all three religions have taken coronavirus precautions.
Last week, Jews marking Passover in Jerusalem and across Israel were required to stay at home and celebrate only with immediate family.
(Production: Mohammad abu Ganeyeh, Sinan abu Mayzer, Suheir Sheikh)
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