Adam Kelwick, a chaplain and humanitarian Imam from Liverpool, was recently denied entry to Jerusalem to visit Masjid al-Aqsa as part of the Forgotten Lands Tour. According to Imam Adam, this was his fourth attempt to enter Jerusalem to visit the holy sanctuary, having been denied every time.
Imam Adam has been working tirelessly this last year with an international humanitarian organisation in providing aid and assistance to refugees across Europe and the Middle East. He has visited the Calais ‘Jungle’ numerous times and visited the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan (which houses over 83,000 Syrian refugees) in an effort to deliver aid and some respite to those torn apart by war and violence.
On 3rd May, as a member of the Forgotten Lands Tour, a tour which takes people on a spiritual journey to visit Islams holiest sites including the ‘Blessed Tree’ in Jordan, Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and the two holiest sanctuaries in Makkah and Madinah, Imam Adam was denied entry into Jerusalem for a fourth time.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, Imam Adam confirmed that he had received a letter from the Israeli Embassy in the UK in the past that confirmed he was not banned from entering the country. On one occasion, Imam Adam was detained for 4 nights in a detention centre without a phone call.
It is not acceptable. Its not reasonable for them to treat people like this. It really is bad and it really has to stop. All I want to do is pray in Al Aqsa Mosque.
As Imam Adam states himself in the video, he has always been someone who has worked day and night to spread peace, bring communities together and has established very strong interfaith relations as part of his civic duty as an Imam and community leader. It begs the question as to why someone like Imam Adam has been denied entry. It is unacceptable and disappointing that it has happened without justification on any substantial evidence.
I don’t want to deter anyone from visiting Masjid al-Aqsa. Do visit Jerusalem. Do visit Masjid al-Aqsa. You will be fine Insha’Allah. The vast majority of Muslims I know have been able to get in.
Imam Adam will now be moving on towards Makkah and Madinah without the rest of his group. We pray for his safe travels and ask him to pray for us all in the holy sanctuary.
There is an important point that needs to be made here. The situation in Palestine and Israel is constantly on a knifes edge. If there is a genuine desire to see some form of reconciliation and lasting peace, it must involve greater collaboration and a willingness to engage with senior scholars and faith leaders. Blocking their entry and denying them access does not help.