Hamas asks Gaza clerks to prohibit prayers in public

By Xinhua

Gaza : The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas Monday called on its clerks in the deposed government led by Ismail Haneya to “taboo” Palestinian Friday prayers in public that rival Fatah movement had called for.

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Salleh al-Reggeb, director of religious affairs ministry in Haneya’s government said in a written statement sent to the press that “the prayers in public that the Fatah movement calls for every Friday are religiously illegal.

“The public prayers that Fatah called were not serious and included ridiculous behaviour by the devotees,” al-Reggeb said, adding that “people don’t come for worshipping but for riots and violation of law.”

On Friday, tens of thousands of Fatah supporters prayed in several parts in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as a challenge to Hamas and its security forces.

Twelve people, including two French journalists, were wounded in the demonstration and dozens were detained.

President Mahmoud Abbas chaired a meeting of the Executive Committee of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Ramallah this week, calling on Palestinians all over the territories to pray in public next Friday.

Haneya’s government accused the PLO committee and Abbas of “inciting the Palestinians for riots, violence and terror”.

Hamas and its militants took control of the Gaza Strip in mid June after they defeated Abbas’ security forces and the Fatah movement in bloody clashes.

Abbas, in turn, fired the Hamas-led government and formed a new one led by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank.