Thursday, December 13, 2018

Musaharati arrested and fined in Old City Jerusalem


By Naomi Kundera - June 13, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Jerusalem] [Ramadan]

A Palestinian musaharati has been arrested and fined in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in the final weeks of the holy month of Ramadan. 

The musaharati, or public wakers, practice the ancient Muslim tradition of promenading around the village, banging drums and chanting to wake the community for the sahur meal.
 
During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. The sahur meal, typically taken around two in the morning, is an important element of their capability to fast for a full 16 hours.
 
According to Associated Press, one 26-year-old musaharati, Mohamed Hagej, has been arrested four times this Ramadan. Participating in this tradition for three years now, Hagej claims that he has never had problems with the Israeli police before.
 
After his first arrest, Hagej was slapped with a fine of 450 shekel ($125). The fine has increased after each following arrest.
 
Claims of Israeli border police using tear gas against the musaharati have also been made.
 
The Israeli police claim to responding only to noise complaints they received by other inhabitants of the quarter, which many presume are coming from Jewish settlers.
 
Micky Rosenfeld, the official spokesperson for the Israeli police, confirmed this claim of responding to disturbances of the peace, but failed to confirm the use of tear gas or whether the complaints came from Jewish Israelis or Palestinians.
 
Over the last few years members of the Jewish community have began taking over multiple apartment buildings in areas of the Muslim quarter, like Al-Sadia and Silwan. This initiative is made possible by groups like Ateret Cohanim, an NGO known for systemically settling Jewish people in Arab areas of East Jerusalem.  
 
The occupation and annexation of Jerusalem by Israel began in 1967 after the Arab defeat in the June War. Despite violating the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Security Council resolutions 194, 181, 252, 476 and 478, this illegal occupation is not merely continuing, but proliferating.
 
Last month the Israeli Minister of Culture, Miri Regev, announced a $17 million plan to archaeologically excavate parts of East Jerusalem as a commemoration for the 1967 occupation of the holy land.
 
Israeli media sources exalted this plan as a way to expose and venerate, “the history of the Jewish people 3,000 years ago.”  
 
Despite these attacks on the Muslim and Palestinian heritages of Jerusalem, Hagej and his fellow musaharati will continue the tradition of waking up their community for sahur.
 

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