Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

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An archaeologist gestures as he stands inside the remains of a mosque discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority and which they say is one of the world's oldest mosques, in the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel July 18, 2019. (Reuters)
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The Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries. (AFP)
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An archaeologist from the Israel Antiquities Authority shows off one of the findings discovered at the site where the remains of a mosque was uncovered and which the authority say is one of the world's oldest mosques, in the outskirts of the Bedouin town of Rahat in southern Israel July 18, 2019. (Reuters)
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The Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries. (AFP)
Updated 18 July 2019

Archaeologists find mosque from when Islam arrived in holy land

  • Authorities estimate the mosquer dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries
  • Rare to find house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers

RAHAT, Israel: Archaeologists in Israel have discovered the remains of one of the world’s oldest rural mosques, built around the time Islam arrived in the holy land, they said on Thursday.
The Israel Antiquities Authority estimates that the mosque, uncovered ahead of new construction in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert, dates back to the 7th to 8th centuries.
There are large mosques known to be from that period in Jerusalem and in Makkah but it is rare to find a house of prayer so ancient whose congregation is likely to have been local farmers, the antiquities authority said.
Excavated at the site were the remains of an open-air mosque — a rectangular building, about the size of a single-car garage, with a prayer niche facing south toward Makkah.
“This is one of the earliest mosques known from the beginning of the arrival of Islam in Israel, after the Arab conquest of 636 C.E.,” said Gideon Avni of the antiquities authority.
“The discovery of the village and the mosque in its vicinity are a significant contribution to the study of the history of the country during this turbulent period.”


Supreme leader backs government on gas price hikes

Updated 17 November 2019

Supreme leader backs government on gas price hikes

  • The comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were reported by the state TV on Sunday

DUBAI: Iranian state TV says the country’s supreme leader supports the government’s decision to increase gasoline prices and calls those setting fire to public property “bandits” backed by the enemies of Iran.

The comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were reported by the state TV on Sunday, a day after protesters angered by Iran raising government-set gasoline prices by 50 percent had blocked traffic in major cities and occasionally clashed with police.

That came after a night of demonstrations punctuated by gunfire, in violence that reportedly killed at least one person.