The Israeli authorities in Tiberias have begun turning the historic Al-Bahr Mosque into a museum, Al-Resalah reported on Monday. The move allegedly violates a 2000 agreement between the authorities and the Arab Muslim community in Israel to maintain the status quo at the mosque, which has been closed ever since.
Middle East Monitor Israel has demolished hundreds of Palestinian mosques, cemeteries and other religious sites since the state’s creation in 1948. Dozens have been turned into bars and night clubs in Jaffa, Lod, Al-Ramla, Ashkelon and other cities with no regard for their religious significance.
According to Arab48.com, “We have to go to Tiberias and stop the desecration of the holy site which aims to erase any Palestinian symbols in the city,” insisted Mohammad Baraka, the Chairman of the High Committee for Arab Citizens. He said that the Arab citizens in Israel would never accept such a move and pledged to protect the mosque and other holy places.
Al-Bahr (“The Sea”) Mosque was built in 1743 by the Muslim ruler of Tiberias, Al-Zaher Omar. It is located on the shore of Lake Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee. Since the rebirth of the Jewish state in 1948, the mosque has been abandoned and no Muslims have been allowed to enter it.
Not that they ever would as it is currently being used as a seaside bar.
This is almost as good as when the Israelis turned the Al-Majdal mosque into a bar, liquor store, and museum last year. The mosque dates back to the Ottoman era and was established following the illegal occupation of Jerusalem by Salah al-Deen al-Ayoubi.
“This is another proof of Israeli plans to violate the sanctity of holy shrines,” Lawyer Khaled Zabarqa said. “The mosque still carries signs of its Islamic origin; it still has a minaret, a mihrab (a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla, that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Makkah and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying), and a minbar (a pulpit in the mosque where the imam stands to deliver sermons).
“To open a bar and a restaurant in the mosque is a dangerous violation of the sanctity of the site and a provocation to adherents of Islam everywhere in the world”, he further stated, calling on the concerned institutions to immediately step in and cease such Israeli aggressions.
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