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Muslims gather at mosques for first Friday prayers since Israel-Hamas war started

In Muslim communities across the world, worshippers gathered at mosques for their first Friday prayers since Hamas militants attacked Israel, igniting the latest Israel-Palestinian war.

MALAYSIANS RALLY IN KUALA LUMPUR IN SOLIDARITY

Some 1,000 Muslims rallied in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, after Friday prayers to show solidarity with the Palestinians. Chanting “Free Palestine” and “Crush the Zionists,” they burned two effigies draped with Israeli flags.

“This Israeli-Palestinian issue is more than a religious issue, it’s a humanitarian issue,” said Yasmin Hadi Abdul Halim, a student.

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Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 98, was among those attending the event.

“Seventy-five years ago, they took away Palestinian land to establish Israel. Not satisfied, they continued to take more land,” Mahatjir said.

“It’s not just about seizing land. The people of Palestine are subjected to torture, murder, imprisonment, and long detentions. Hamas did what they did due to decades of oppression (by Israel).”

Dozens more people attended a smaller rally outside the U.S. Embassy that shut its doors to visitors as a security precaution. The rallies ended peacefully.

— Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

IN INDONESIA, PRAYERS FOR GOD’S PROTECTION AND FOR THE ABSENT

Islamic leaders in Indonesia appealed to all mosques in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation to pray for peace and safety for the Palestinian people.

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The chairperson of the Indonesian Mosque Council had urged all mosques to perform the Qunut Nazilahto prayer, one made for protection, to ask for God’s help so that “the conflict in the Gaza Strip would end quickly.”

The appeal from the nation’s former Vice President Jusuf Kalla is in line with most Indonesian Muslims, who stand with Palestinians. The prayer was held along with the Salat Al-Ghaib, or prayer for the absent.

In a sermon at Abu Bakar Al Shidiq, one of the most conservative mosques in Jakarta, a cleric called for mobilizing “our power and efforts to help the Muslims in Palestine.”

“Prayer is a weapon for devout Muslims,” he added, “For those of us who have not been given the opportunity by God to take up arms to defend the honor and religion of our Muslims brothers, then we can take up our weapons by raising our hands asking God for His blessings.”

More than 200 people also rallied in front of the National Monument in Indonesia’s capital on Friday, waving banners expressing solidarity with the Palestinians.

— Niniek Karmini and Edna Tarigan, Jakarta, Indonesia

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Associated Press religion coverage receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content.