Resilience amid ruins: Call to prayer continues in Gaza's destroyed mosques

Traditionally decorated for Ramadan, atmosphere has become solemn this year as Palestinians mourn Israel's demolition of mosques

16:05 - 1/04/2024 Pazartesi
File Photo
File Photo

Despite the Israeli army's destruction of scores of mosques in the Gaza Strip, the call to prayer (Adhan) still resonates from these houses of worship at its designated times.

In northern Gaza, the minaret of the Masjid al-Awda still stands tall, though the Israeli airstrikes destroyed the mosque during the ongoing war since Oct. 7, 2023.

- Towering minaret amid ruins

Next to the lofty minaret lies rubble and debris, with the remains of the mosque scattered around.

During Ramadan, the mosque became a memory for residents of northern Gaza, who would frequent it for night prayers (Tarawih) and worship during the Muslim fasting month.

Traditionally adorned for Ramadan celebrations in the past, this year, the atmosphere has turned somber, with residents mourning the destruction of the mosque.

- Hub of Ramadan activities

During Ramadan each year, the mosque would host hundreds of worshippers before the Maghrib call to prayer, gathering for Quranic recitations and providing iftar meals for the needy.

The Masjid al-Awda, built nearly 50 years ago, is situated in the Jabalia refugee camp for Palestinian refugees.

Near the mosque, Palestinian Awwad Shurafa, 55, feels profound sadness over the bombardment that befell mosques and homes.

"We used to celebrate and decorate the mosques, but everything vanished because of the war," he recalled.

"The occupation forces caused destruction everywhere, demolishing our homes and mosques, displacing and killing Palestinians, and eliminating the joy of Ramadan," he added.

Shurafa reminisced about the past Ramadan memories inside the mosque, bustling with worshippers and devotees, but today, everything seems to have disappeared.

- Call to prayers amid destruction

Similarly, the Al-Mahatta Mosque in the Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City was completely destroyed due to Israeli attacks, yet the call to prayer continues to emanate from amid the rubble.

Yasser Hassouna, 23, without hesitation, goes to the mosque for every prayer, where he calls the adhan and recites the Quran, defying Israel.

"In the face of genocide and the targeting of mosques, we come daily to the Masjid al-Mahatta to call to prayer," said Hassouna.

"We are determined to come to the mosque for prayer and raise the call to prayer amid Israel's genocidal war on Gaza," he added.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, 2023 cross-border attack by Hamas which killed some 1,200 people.

Nearly 32,800 Palestinians have since been killed and 75,300 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which on Thursday asked Israel to do more to prevent famine in Gaza.

#Gaza Strip
#Israeli army
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