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Palestinians protest wine festival at Beersheba mosque
Published Monday 03/09/2012 (updated) 05/09/2012 12:44
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The festival is due to be held on Wednesday and Thursday in a mosque
courtyard in southern Israel.
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Prominent Palestinian community members and MK's protested in Beersheba on Sunday against an upcoming wine festival due to be held in the courtyard of an Ottoman-era mosque, Israel's Haaretz reported.

"They do not let us pray in our holy places, they crush us. They do what they want and hurt the feelings of all Muslims. What kind of message are they sending? Imagine if such a thing happened in a Jewish synagogue," Knesset member of Palestinian origin Taleb al-Sana was quoted as saying.

The festival is due to be held on Wednesday and Thursday in a mosque courtyard.

Balad member Jamal Zakhalka said that holding the festival was a "barbaric act" and an insult to all Muslims.

Sheikh Hamas Abu Dabas, chairman of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, said the group would submit a court petition against the festival.

The Adalah legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel has also appealed to Israel's Attorney General to prevent the wine and beer festival

"The use of the courtyard of the Mosque for drinking alcohol is a red line banned in Islam, and is completely incompatible with the mosque’s intended use for prayer," Adalah lawyer Aram Mahameed wrote to the Attorney General in August.

Beersheba municipality said that the wine festival would take place in a square next to the mosque and is being held for the sixth consecutive year.

The mosque is a contentious site in Beersheba, with Israeli forces turning the building into a prison in 1948.

Rights groups and the Islamic Committee appealed to Israel's high court in 2002 to resume worship at the mosque. After a decade-long battle, the high court ruled that the site should be turned into an Islamic museum.
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1 ) Simon / Riddermark
03/09/2012 15:13
Imagine a pork festival in a synagogue! Or a museum of 'tolerance' built on a muslim cemetery! Oh wait, that's happening...

2 ) Business / Israel
03/09/2012 20:27
It is not in the ex-mosque, it is not in the yard of the ex-mosque. It is next door to the ex-mosque. And if someone wanted to open a pork restaurant next door to an ex- synagogue, no Jew would care. what about a mosque on the site of an ex church? Should that be stopped? Because there are quite a few.

3 ) Alex / USA
03/09/2012 20:47
@Simon: Are you stupid? Read the piece in this Palestinian website. It says the festival is being held for the 6th consecutive year in a square next to mosque. Your hatred of Israel is amazing.

4 ) Colin Wright / USA
04/09/2012 07:29
Fairly obviously, the site of this 'festival' was chosen to offend -- and Muslims are taking it in the spirit in which it was intended.

5 ) Billy Bragg / UK
04/09/2012 12:30
How about buiding a mosque on top of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem? Was that insensitive?

6 ) Elder / USA
04/09/2012 13:33
The site of the festival on the grounds of the Negev Museum of Art, which happens to be next to the former mosque. And it has been held for years without a complaint. http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2012/08/this-weeks-fake-outrage-wine-festival.html

7 ) Simon / Riddermark
04/09/2012 13:53
@ Business: Well, up to a point. But it's only an 'ex'-mosque because it was stolen and occupied. If the 'ex-synagogue' had also been forcefully appropriated I would make a similar fuss.

@Alex: I agree, it is amazing. Thank you very much.

8 ) Colin Wright / USA
04/09/2012 19:21
To Billy Bragg #5 'How about buiding a mosque on top of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem? Was that insensitive?' There was no 'first temple' -- but that's a red herring. More to the point, yes, we should expect Israel to aspire to heights even greater than those of the eighth century. She doesn't have a special license to revert to the Dark Ages.

9 ) Sara / UK
04/09/2012 19:57
Why not just enjoy while it's there? I know lots of Muslims friends who drink wine and love it. If you think that buiding a mosque on top of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem is not offensive then I don't know what is.
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