Israeli court halts desecration of Muslim cemetery

official complaints had been filed with the Israeli government and UNESCO in 2014 and 2016, says Kailani. (Supplied)
official complaints had been filed with the Israeli government and UNESCO in 2014 and 2016, says Kailani. (Supplied)
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Updated 24 December 2020

Israeli court halts desecration of Muslim cemetery

Israeli court halts desecration of Muslim cemetery
  • The case is important because it sheds a light on the continued acts of desecration against a cemetery that is still being used these days by Jerusalem’s Muslims: official

AMMAN: The Jerusalem District Court issued a temporary restraining order against the city’s Israeli-run municipality on Thursday, forcing the municipality to cease its conversion of the waqf-owned Al-Yousefieh cemetery into a park.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Dhaifallah Fayez, reiterated Jordan’s “rejection and condemnation of the excavations and leveling works carried out by the Israeli authorities at the cemetery’s fence and stairs.” Jordan described the action as “desecration of graves” and called on the Israelis to immediately stop the operation.

Wasfi Kailani, senior official on Jerusalem Affairs and director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, told Arab News, “The case is important because it sheds a light on the continued acts of desecration against a cemetery that is still being used these days by Jerusalem’s Muslims. This is a documented waqf property and the cemetery — which is named after the son of Salah Eddine, Yusef bin Ayoub — is sacred to Muslims around the world, especially for Jordan and the Arab Legion (the former Jordanian army).”

Kailani said that official complaints had been filed with the Israeli government and UNESCO in 2014 and 2016. ”We have known for some time that Israel had its eyes on this land near the wall adjacent to Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Lion’s Gate,” he said, adding that those complaints had included “documentation of Israeli authorities pouring concrete below and over existing graves in order to stop Muslims (burying) their dead at this location.”

The municipality’s plans for the park reportedly include a memorial erected by Jerusalemites with the approval of former Israeli mayor Teddy Kosleck to honor members of the Jordanian army who were killed in the 1967 war. Kailani claimed that would cause emotional hurt and damage to the families of the dead.

“Imagine the reaction of families of these brave Jordanian soldiers who are buried at the site as they see kids playing and dancing on the graves of their deceased martyrs,” he said.
Palestinian lawyers Muhaad Jabara and Hamzeh Quteieh told Arab News that the court’s decision means that the municipality’s actions were illegal.


Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
Bookseller Yaqoub Mohamed Yaqoub, 45, sits by his roadside stall where he has been working for 15 years, in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, on January 14, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 35 min 54 sec ago

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
  • Unrest ricocheted beyond North African country, triggering uprisings, crackdowns, civil wars

KHARTOUM: As Sudan’s transitional government shifts the nation from the Islamist rule of ousted strongman Omar Bashir, a new schoolbook has sparked controversy for reproducing Michelangelo’s iconic “Creation of Adam.”
Khartoum’s government has embarked on deeply controversial reforms in a bid to boost its international standing and rescue its ailing economy — but bringing it into a confrontation with those who see changes as anti-Islamic.
The offending picture, in a history textbook for teenagers, has become a flashpoint in the argument. “It is an ugly offense,” said Sudan’s Academy of Islamic Fiqh, the body ruling on Islamic law, which issued an edict banning teaching from the book.
Michelangelo’s fresco, depicting the Biblical story of God reaching out with his hand to give life to Adam, is a flagship piece of 16th century Renaissance art that forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling in Rome.
“The book glorifies Western culture in a way that makes it the culture of science and civilization — in contrast to its presentation of Islamic civilization,” the Fiqh academy added.

BACKGROUND

In a viral video, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting ‘apostasy’ and ‘heresy.’

Furious Muslim clerics have railed against the book and other changes to the school curriculum.
In one video widely shared on social media, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting “apostasy” and “heresy.”
Another urged followers to “burn the book.”
But others defended the changes, saying they were part of necessary education reforms.
“The picture is not in a religious book,” teacher Qamarya Omar said.
“It is in a history book for the sixth-grade under a section called European Renaissance, which makes it placed in context.”