Ramadan in Al Aqsa

Lauren Booth


Channel: Lauren Booth

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Yes, well, that's me. It's naughty mess as usual, very spiritual thing to say but

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AsSalam alaikum I first visited Jerusalem in 2009 as a Christian. And at that time, I went to the Via Dolorosa, which are the Stations of the Cross as it's known. And I went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the most famous churches in the whole of Christianity. But I still wanted to go into one particular place, the Al Aqsa compound. Why? Well, there were two reasons. Firstly, because children in the West Bank where I've been visiting, had asked me, if you go, please report back to us and tell us other tiles on the Dome of the Rock as blue as they look, is it really as peaceful as they say it is, because as Palestinian children, the chances of them getting to the

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capital of Palestine, East Jerusalem, were very slim to none. And the other reason was that I felt certain I was missing a big part of the face Jigsaw by being able to skirt the compound, but not go inside. But I've just got back from my first ever trip to the Alexa compound Alhamdulillah it was 48 hours that have changed my life. Again, it came as part of a three holy city tour in the holy month of Ramadan, and the chances of me getting to the holy Alexa compound after Medina and Mecca were actually really slim because as a pro Palestine activist, I have some background in resisting colonial propaganda. In fact, my husband and I, we fully expected to be turned back at the crossing.

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And when our group arrived, barely anybody was getting in that day. All we did was we made lots and lots of data. Lots and lots of door husband will know when your malware keel.

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And then a miracle happened. We got to the LNB crossing, and within minutes, my passport well, they don't stamp it anymore. I was given a little marker saying here's your entry ticket to Israel. Have a nice day.

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My husband and all the other men were kept for two hours. But then our whole group got in to meet it guys

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I had one

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mother was all along

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I remember walking the sloping hill from the panorama hotel that climbs up to Lions Gate.

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And there we pass two incredible churches and the rammer cemetery where prophets and Sahabi are buried. But we also came across our first checkpoint, heavily armed sneering colonial soldiers, plucking people just wanting to go to Maghreb to break their fast in this kilometers wide city within a city, a city of faith and believers, but there they were at gunpoint being questioned. We walked past praying against the colonial settlers. Does this harassment mean? You shouldn't go to Alexa. Alexa is actually bait or Mac this Haram al Sharif it is 35 acres. And did you know inside it, it has its own parks. And there are acres of trees that you can sit underneath. And the birds

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greet you at Badger and they hail the coming of the night as well beautifully. At Iftar time Allahu Akbar, you join 10s of 1000s of Muslims heading towards the many masjids that are on this beautiful site. laughing, talking, discussing,

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praying making vicar but the essence of it. It's peace.

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That's me. It's not the mess as usual or spiritual thing to say but lie.

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When you pray next to a woman of Alexa

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and you say free Palestine and Paula Philistine. We start crying and they have used because they're worried about you.

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You know, and they're comforting you this is the quality, quality of the believers.

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Quality and the reality of Sakina I don't think we quite understand it in the rest of the world. We don't we've lost it. We've lost it because

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We fill our time with rubbish

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and our eyes with sand and our ears with Hello.

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And it picks pecs pecs away at us. One of the many things I really appreciated during my visit was that sisters get to pray in half of the Dome of the Rock masjid, that's a huge madjid With The Golden Dome Subhan Allah 1400 years old, commissioned by Marwan and amid kala Subhanallah but the golden dome was actually commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Sultan Subhan Allah, and in the center of it is a huge stone, believed to be understood to be the place where Ibrahim alayhi salam was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his son and of course, he didn't have to do that. And that is also known as the starting place of the prophets, Mirage journey. But again, I'll tell

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you, it's the people it's the quality of the people there. So here I am in the masjid Marwan in one of the original underneath Alexa, mock mosques which means it's really ancient and I met these family mashallah coming here in Ramadan to pray, and the nor on their faces, nor raining.

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And I asked them what is it like to live in Philistine? And they said Baraka Baraka that there's so much better and yeah, you have a message on Korean

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We love you too much. We love them too much. Mashallah, me I love Listen, the pieces only broken by stun grenades, and smoke grenades, and the occasional cracking of gunfire from the colonial settlers.

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But to the locals avoid this site. Do they say let's stay away. We mustn't go there. I'm not taking my kids there. No Subhan Allah. This is why they are chosen to be the protectors of this holy site. Allah to Allah has made Palestine the place that is blessed for all peoples, and every stone Christ his name, and every bird sings a chorus. Back in 2009 I was doing some shopping souvenir shopping and I was in a rush and it was my last day. And I met a young man and he taken me shopping a Palestinian and I asked him Could you find me a Quran in English and he ran and he was excited and he brought it back several English Quran and I put it in my bag. And then I thought we'd have to

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haggle. How much do I owe you? I knew it was a lot of money for the storekeepers because tourists don't go there. Because they're told Did you buy anything of any Arabs? Maybe it's poisoned maybe it's got bombs in it. You know, you go in the shops there and there's dust on things are barely scraping by but full of nor. Anyway, I said to him, how much do I owe you and he started to count and I estimated about 100 pounds a lot of money back in 2009.

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And then this young Shabaab looked at me and he said, of

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you don't owe me anything.

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Just one thing I ask.

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Please don't forget Palestine when you go

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that's how I got my first ever copy of the Quran. From a Shabaab on the streets of Jerusalem, asking for the struggle of the people to be remembered. It's our duty to support the ongoing renovations, the structural care and the people of a laksa. The Prophet peace upon him said a group for my Alma will continue to struggle from the gates of Damascus and the area around it and from the Gates of Jerusalem and from the area around it. No deserters will harm them. They will continue to aid one another in the way of truth until the Day of Resurrection.