West News Wire: Since October 7, when Israel has been brutally attacking the Gaza Strip, Saudi Arabia has started imprisoning people who have prayed for Palestine and supported Palestine at holy sites in Mecca and Medina.
Middle East Eye reported on Thursday that British actor and presenter Islah Abdur-Rahman claimed that he was arrested by Saudi police for wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh late last month while he and his family were on a religious pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca.
“I was stopped by four soldiers because I had a Palestinian-colored tasbih [rosary beads] around my wrist and a white keffiyeh around my head,” the man claimed.
Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime’s decades-long suppression and devastation against Palestinians.
According to the Gaza-based health ministry, at least 12,000 Palestinians, including over 5,000 children, have been killed and more than 29,200 others injured in the Israeli strikes.
“They took me to an off-site area where they were holding individuals who might have committed crimes or violations. Abdur-Rahman recounted that after being taken into custody, “other soldiers questioned me, asking me questions about my nationality, why I’m here, where I traveled from, and how long I’m here for.”
Additionally, he claimed that the troops were obviously concentrating on his keffiyeh since, while inspecting it, they kept referring to it as a “Palestinian keffiyeh.” “The scarf was clearly the problem,” he remarked.
After providing his fingerprints, signing a release form, and turning in the keffiyeh, he was eventually freed. He was informed that it was not permitted to wear the keffiyeh there and was advised not to do so in the future.
Abdur-Rahman went on to say that initially he was scared but “then, my fear turned into heartbreak the heartbreak got worse when I realized that this is just an ounce of what Palestinians must go through.”
On November 14, it was revealed that two people an Algerian and a Turkish sheikh had also been arrested a few days prior by Saudi authorities for allegedly praying in public for Gaza and Palestine while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
When the Algerian sheikh went to the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina to pray for the people of Palestine, he was arrested and held for six hours.
“I view my imprisonment in the city of Allah’s messenger as an honor. Is it unlawful to offer prayers for the disadvantaged and defenseless while mosques and hospitals are being destroyed? Young children were massacred and killed. Does this mean that we have to pray? In the most respectable settings, we pray. Is it harmful? He queried.
The Turkish sheikh, Mustafa Evi, was detained at Mecca while he was praying for Gaza and Palestine.
“They arrested me now in Mecca because of my mention of the words Gaza and Palestine,” he said in a video.