CAIRO: A centuries-old Palestinian mosque has been converted into a bar and events hall, according to Gulf News, quoting Al-Quds Al-Arabi on Wednesday.
The historic mosque changed from Al-Ahmar (Red) mosque to Khan al-Ahmarin an occupied Palestinian town in the northern Safed district of Israel experienced a series of desecrations since 1948.
First, the mosque was converted into a Jewish school, then in 2006, it became a campaign center for the Israeli Kadima Party, before being used as a clothing shop and now a bar and a wedding hall.
Khair Tabari, secretary of a Palestinian Islamic endowment agency ‘Safed and Tiberias Islamic Endowment’ has been trying to rescue the mosque for years.
“I was shocked when I saw aspects of sabotage inside the mosque,” Tabari, told London-based newspaper Al Qodus Al Arabi.
“I felt dizzy when I noticed the vandalism inside the mosque, as can be seen by the remains of Qu’ranic verses which were removed from the pulpit and replaced by the Ten Commandments in Hebrew,” Tabari told al-Quds al-Arabi.
According to Dr. Mustafa Abbasi, a historian and a native of Safad, the mosque was built in 1276, has great historical and architectural value.
“Al Ahmar Mosque derives its name from its red stones. Today, it is used in several ways except as a prayer place for Muslims,” said Abbas.
“Muslims visiting the place face attacks from Jewish colonists,” he added.
“The mosque has a rare historical and architectural value as it was established by the Mameluke Sultan Al Daher Baibars [1223-1277 AD),” Abbas said.
Israeli Jews and soldiers have altered most mosques and Palestinian endowments.
The other historical mosques, cemeteries and other religious sites have similar stories. They are either converted into nightclubs or blew up. The Greek mosque, built in 1319, was transformed into an art gallery where praying is forbidden.
“I visited Safed before, once,” President Abbas told Israeli media. “But I want to see Safed. It’s my right to see it, but not to live there.”