An Annual Ritual Clashes During Ramadan at Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem
Commentary by Maimoona Harrington
“Palestinians, Israel police clash at Al-Aqsa mosque; 53 hurt” (May 7, 2021, AP News)
“Palestinians clash with Israeli police at major holy site.” (April 15, 2022, NBC News)
“Israeli police storm al-Aqsa mosque for the second time on Wednesday” (April 6, 2023, CNN)
I start my column with the headlines from the past three years about the clashes between the Israeli forces and the Palestinians at the holy mosque of Masjid Al-Aqsa during the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims.
This year, Ramadan and the Jewish and Christian holidays of Passover and Easter all occur in the month of April. Three significant holidays of three major Abrahamic faiths. As followers of these three major religions, we hear stories of same prophets throughout our scriptures. There are so many more commonalities in us rather than differences, yet we can’t get along. And we can’t respect each other, thanks to our global politics and religious agendas!
It has become evident in the last few years that besides regular clashes and skirmishes between Israeli forces and Palestinians, Ramadan clashes have also become an annual ritual.
In my opinion, global politics, global leadership and global media is to blame. They play a vital part in manipulating those few differences rather than focusing on the similarities. Simply condemning something does not resolve anything. The continuing conflicts between Palestine Arab Israel, Kashmir and India Pakistan territory are clear examples of the disputes that are played on the global platform by our global political leadership for their own agendas.
The recent clashes in Masjid Al-Aqsa are another clear example of how we have stooped down from the level of humanity. It is unfortunate that we forget the sanctity of holy places during our faiths’ religious holidays.
Religious holidays should be a time to connect with our own selves on individual level. And through practicing our beliefs, we should connect with our communities to reinforce our identities. In case any of us are unaware, let’s quickly review these sacred holidays.
“People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another. In God’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware.”Quran 49:13
What is a Passover?
Passover (Pesach) commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. It is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrated in the Hebrew month of Nissan, and, this year, fell from April 5-13.
What is Easter?
A Christian holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25 based on Gregorian calendar. This year Easter fell on April 9. For the Orthodox Christian Church, Easer will fall on April 16, as they follow the Julian calendar.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the ninth month of Islamic Calendar and is also the third pillar of Islam. In this month, Muslims observe fasting for 29-30 days depending on the sight of moon. This is one of the holiest months of Islamic calendar and this is also the month when Quran — Islam’s scripture — was revealed. This year Ramadan falls from March 23- April 20.
I am writing this column to show my personal grief and sadness. Unfortunately both at a global and regional level political and religious agendas have become so significant in our global platform that we have forgotten the basic ethics of humanity.
On a personal level, I feel sad, and I pray for all those who are suffering in any capacity around the globe and share my grief of the Al-Aqsa incident through my writing.
Peace is what we all need, and it is peace that we should all want. Let’s learn to respect the sanctity of people and places.
Salam. Shalom. Peace in both Arabic and Hebrew.
To learn more about Ramadan you can also read my column at FāVS News, “About the Holy Month of Ramadan.”
And to learn about my journey to the holy land read my series column at FāVS News, “Because He Loves You: My Journey to the Holy Land.”