Ramadan public wakers face arrest, fines in Jerusalem

Source: Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian men who chant and beat drums to wake up the faithful during Ramadan in Jerusalem’s Old City say they are being unfairly targeted by Israeli police over their early-morning tradition.

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The public wakers, known as musaharati, walk through parts of the Old City from 2 a.m., waking up Muslims for the “suhoor” meal ahead of the daily dawn-to-dusk fast during the holy month, which ends next week.

But since residents began filing complaints with police about the noise, they say they have been arrested and fined for doing what they say is a part of Palestinian heritage.

“They claim that we disturb them, but that’s not true. They want to erase something called Palestinian Jerusalemite heritage,” said Mohamed Hagej, 26, who has worked as a public waker for three years. He said he believes the complaints come from Jewish settlers.

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