Egypt court bans annual Jewish pilgrimage

Egypt court bans annual Jewish pilgrimage

Monday, December 29, 2014 5:47 pm

Jewish pilgrims. Photo Al Arabiya News

Jewish pilgrims. Photo Al Arabiya News

An Egyptian court Monday banned an annual Jewish pilgrimage in the Nile Delta province of Baheira honouring a Moroccan rabbi, saying it went against local traditions, a judicial official said.

A court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria issued an indefinite ban on celebrations marking the birthday of Yacoub Abu Hasira, held annually in January since 1979, the year Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty.

Despite an earlier ban on the pilgrimage during the regime of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, hundreds of Jews from Morocco, France and Israel continued to visit Abu Hasira’s shrine in Dutmo village.

On Monday, the court in Alexandria issued a final ruling banning the festival indefinitely, the judicial official said.

Dutmo residents had filed a case denouncing the security measures imposed for the festival, and also charged that its rituals were “inappropriate to Egyptian rural customs,” the official said.

The court also revoked an earlier decision to list the rabbi’s tomb as a heritage site.

Abu Hasira lived between 1805 and 1880. After the 1979 treaty, Egypt allowed Jews to visit his tomb every year in January.

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