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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Egyptians against Jewish pilgimage to holy man's grave

An interesting article in Palestine Today that shows the real hatred that Egyptians have for Jews:
With the advent of the month of December each year comes the renewed desire of Jews to converge on the village of Dmitoh, in a province north of the lake Egypt, to the grave of "Abu Hatezira". Israelis and Jews come from Europe and the United States to commemorate the birth of the Jewish rabbi, blessed him and asking for miraculous cures.

The cause of headaches suffered by the people of the village is the strict security measures by the security forces to protect the Jewish revelers that anger the villagers, who doubt the existence of the Jewish Rabbi Abuhatzeira altogether, describing it as "another foothold of Jews in Egypt", as described, as well complaints about practices of the Jewish revelers from the "slaughter of pigs and drinking, dance and exercising unethical behavior," according to reports.

Politicians and activists and MPs are trying to collect one million signatures to demand a halt to the celebration of the birth of Abuhatzeira, to be held in the twenty-fifth month of January next year. A number of lawmakers involved in the campaign, their intention to progress a memo of protest to Dr. Ahmed Fathy Sorour, President of the People's Assembly, to stop this ceremony.

A number of bloggers, for the second consecutive year, also launched an online campaign against the celebration of the birth of Abuhatzeira,

The bloggers who are demanding to prevent celebrations by the Jews in Egypt said that the tomb of Abuhatezira had no visitors for a hundred years. A court ruling five years ago to abolish this celebration has still not been implemented.

A second group , in which the young owners of the Egyptians refused to establish a "birth of the alleged Abu Hasira," rejected "the Zionist set foot on Egyptian soil to the orgy," according to the expression.

Has announced a number of lawyers who succeeded in obtaining judicial rulings preventing stop-born Jews from the assembly; their intention to renew their jurisdiction to compel the government to implement judicial decisions, and to prevent "this harassment and moral pollution" caused by the Israelis and the Jews of Europe to the people of the village.

According to Jewish sources; Abuhatzeira is a Jewish cleric named Jacob Aharon, was born in Morocco in 1807 who came to Egypt and lived there, and died in 1880, which has the respect and appreciation of many sectors of the Jews.

But Mustafa Raslan, a lawyer and a son of the village of Dmitoh, filed a lawsuit in which he called for cessation of Jewish celebrations on the ground of his home town, which claims that Abuhatzeira was not Jewish, but a Muslim who lived in Marrakech, Morocco named Mohammed bin Yousef bin Yacob, who was a cobbler of shoes for the Egyptians, and completed seven of the Kaaba Hjat supervisor, according to his assertions.

But only since 1978, following the signing of the "Camp David", have the religious Israelis been seeking to formally organize trips to the village to celebrate the birth of Abuhatzeira that they allege to be "a man of blessings", sometime between December and February evey year.

The number of visitors has increased from a few dozen to a few hundreds and then thousands, arriving each year from occupied Palestine and the West and other countries, despite protests by Egyptian people about the unwanted visitors, which turned the lives of peasants in this village to "hell" because of the security measures that turn the village into a closed area involving searching every car.

And often start the celebration on 25 December get out of hand, where there is an auction for who will enter his tomb first [guess at translation - EoZ], followed by alcoholic operations spilled over the cemetery, and then the slaughter of sacrifices that are often sheep or pigs, roasting meat, and dancing. Celebrants then hysterically sing Jewish melodies as they become almost naked, and then say some prayers, entreaties and tears to the tomb, burning, beating their heads in the Wailing Wall and asked for their needs, according to witnesses.

The cemetery has seen some expansion with the increasing number of arrivals, and the covering of marble shrine, Jewish and fees, especially at the entrance to the tomb. Then he started annexation of some land and build a fence around it, and then the facilities like Balastrahat, a room equipped, and expanded the cemetery from 350 square meters to 8400 square meters. The Jewish parties also sought to purchase five acres adjacent to the cemetery, in order to build a hotel for the visitors to sleep during the celebration.

Observers believe that the Israeli government is keen via its embassy in Egypt to amplify and expand the size of the celebration, with the participation of diplomats, is bringing special planes carrying a large delegation of rabbis, as well as requests for financial aid to the Egyptian government to establish a bridge linking the village, where the shrine by Alawi access to the nearby city of Damanhour, so that the Jews access to it, and fired on the bridge also the name of Abu Hasira.

What increased the anger of the people of the village, a decision by the Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, was No. 75 of 2001, to incorporate the cemetery Abu Hasira to the Egyptian Antiquities Authority, which make the disposal or transfer as demanded by the people of the village difficult.

The lawyers opposed this decision in the courts, rendering the Administrative Judicial Court in Alexandria, the lake, on 9 December 2001 ruling to stop the Culture Minister's decision as the tomb of Abu Hasira and cemeteries around the village Dmitoh and stop the annual celebrations of the birth of Abu Hasira.
I cannot tell how exaggerated this article is; I could find very few references to pilgrimages to visit that grave and the numbers of people were far smaller. And slaughtering pigs?

From Arutz-7 in 2002:
Seventy Jews, attempting to pray at the graveside of the renowned Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira in Alexandria, Egypt, have been denied permission by the Egyptian authorities.

It is Jewish custom to visit the gravesite of a righteous man on the anniversary of his death. In years past, Islamic groups in Egypt insisted that the government prohibit Jews from visiting the grave. They claimed that the Jews behave in unbecoming ways and corrupt the local Muslims. Abuhatzeira is the father of the "Baba Sali" -- Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira -- who was a renowned kabbalist revered by millions in Israel and around the world.
And from the Jerusalem Post in 2007:
Hundreds of Israeli pilgrims motored in police-escorted convoys across the Nile Delta on Tuesday to pray at a 19th century Jewish holy man's tomb, where people received them with curious stares and a little resentment.

Egypt laid on exceptional security. Police special force troops with automatic rifles guarded the convoys of luxury coaches. The Israelis were not allowed to mingle with the residents of this western Delta town, 170 kilometers northwest of Cairo, but were confined to a cordoned-off parking area next to the shrine.

State Security officers refused to admit The Associated Press, and the government press office in Cairo, reached by cell phone, endorsed the refusal.

The pilgrims, some singing and clapping, made the two-hour drive from Cairo to see the tomb of Yaakov Abuhatzeira, a Moroccan rabbi who earned a reputation for healing people and died in 1880. His grandson, called "Baba Sali," is better known and his tomb in Netivot is a popular pilgrimage site.

Residents gawked from their windows and balconies as the big coaches slowly wound their way along the muddy road to the shrine. The authorities had just widened the road, leaving piles of rubble and freshly turned earth on the side, and had created a parking area in what had been a field of lush clover. A steamroller was leveling it as the first coaches arrived.

"I don't want to see them here," tire-repairman Mohammed Sharqawi said of the Israelis. "I watch television and I see what is happening in Palestine."

But, two stores along the main road, Ali Mohammed Tanani said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was one thing, the pilgrims were another.

"We have our sacred places. If they think it's a sacred place, they have the right to visit. They are our guests," said Tanani, who runs a small grocery shop.

Egypt guards the stone tomb, which stands in a small chamber, and allows visitors only for the January anniversary of Abuhatzeira's death. The pilgrims do not walk around Nekraha; they go to the shrine and leave.

But in 2003 a small group of pilgrims stopped at Tanani's shop and, using their interpreter, bought fizzy drinks and chocolates. "They were polite," Tanani recalled.