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PA bars Hamas PLC from speaking

28 August 2010 9:46

A Hamas-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council said he was threatened and intimidated by Palestinian Authority security forces as he attempted to deliver a Friday sermon in a mosque south of Hebron.

Elected to the PLC with Hamas’ Change and Reform Bloc in 2006, Nayef Ar-Rajoub said he attended prayer in the Dura Al-Kabir Mosque on the third Friday of Ramadan, and when he rose to deliver his message, plainclothes security officers rose and prevented him from speaking.

Ar-Rajoub said the men identified themselves as Abbas forces, and stood in his way as he went to the front of the mosque to deliver the sermon. The lawmaker said he demanded the men bring him a written decision on the matter, but the men refused.

After being blocked and harassed, Ar-Rajoub said he walked across town to the Al-Mujahid Mosque and again attempted to approach the front to deliver the sermon, but “I was forbidden and threatened with weapons.”

The lawmaker said Abbas forces also detained several worshipers as they left the Al-Kabir Mosque.

In Jerusalem, Israeli police detained a second Hamas-affiliated PLC member, Sheikh Hamed Al-Betawi, who was on his way to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, family members said.

His son said that the 47-year-old official was detained from a checkpoint erected by Israeli border police inside the Old City.

Shortly after 1.30 on Friday afternoon, when the noon prayer had finished, Al-Betawi was released and told to leave the city, without being permitted to enter Al-Aqsa for a late prayer.

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