Palestinians launch 'Guardians of Al-Aqsa' video game

Palestinians launch 'Guardians of Al-Aqsa' video game
Players answer trivia about the holy site in order to capture the keys to Al-Aqsa from Israeli police.
2 min read
24 February, 2021
The first version of the game was released in 2019 [Guardians of Al-Aqsa]
A Palestinian social and cultural centre launched the second edition of its "Guardians of Al-Aqsa" video game this week.

The game aims to create awareness about Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque and attempts by Israeli authorities to encroach on the complex, considered the third-most holy site in Islam.

The original version of the game was downloaded some 200,000 times, the centre behind the game told Arabi21.

More than half of those downloads were from Turkey, Indonesia and countries in Europe, Muntaser Dkaidek said.

Dkaidek is the head of the Burj al-Luqluq Social Centre, an organisation that supports Palestinians still living within Jerusalem's old city walls.

The popularity of "Guardians of Al-Aqsa" in countries with large Muslim populations shows the need to make it available in several different languages, he added.

The video game is primarily educational, Dkaidek explained.

Players of the game can walk around the Al-Aqsa complex, where they encounter questions about its history that they must answer in order to continue onwards.

If they answer enough of those questions correctly, they will eventually wrestle the key of one of the Al-Aqsa gates from Israeli police.

Users of the game will learn about the Islamic history of the mosque complex and how its future has been at risk since Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

Jewish worshippers are not currently allowed into Al-Aqsa - a restriction imposed in orthodox Jewish religious law - but groups of settlers regularly storm the site under the protection of Israeli forces.

Israelis call the area the Temple Mount and claim it was historically a site of two Jewish temples. Some Jewish Israelis seek to build a third temple on the site.

Palestinians face routine restrictions in accessing the complex.

Permits to travel from the occupied West Bank or Gaza Strip to Jerusalem are rare, while Palestinian East Jerusalem residents often face age and gender-based restrictions on entry.

Last month, Jordan issued a statement slamming Israel for "assaults" on the Al-Aqsa compound, demanding that it respect its "historic and legal status quo".

The ministry of expatriate and foreign affairs also decried the arrest of staff employed by the Jordan-run Islamic Waqf, or ministry of religious endowments, which controls and manages Islamic edifices in Jerusalem.

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