Shaikh Rai’d Salah Abu Shakra Al-Mahajna descends from a Palestinian family that refused to leave its homeland following the occupation of Palestine in 1948. He was born in 1958 in Um Al-Faham, the largest Arab town in northern occupied Palestine, where he completed his primary, middle and high school education before moving to the Islamic University in Galilee from which hereceived a bachelor’s degree in Islamic Sharia (law). He is the Chairman of the Islamic Movement in the occupied Palestinian territories of 1948 and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Islamic Da’wa (Islamic call), Al-Aqsa Society for Restoration of Revered Islamic Shrines and the Islamic Relief Foundation. A highly respected Islamic personality, Shaikh Salah remains a relentless fighter against aggression towards Palestinians and their Holy shrines.
Shaikh Ra’id Salah emerged as an Islamic activist from an early age and worked in the field of Islamic Da’wa since his years in high school. He was one of the founding members of the Islamic Movement in Occupied Palestine during the 1970’s and editor of al-Sirat al-Islami (Islamic Path) magazine. He was elected three times as Chairman of Um Al-Faham municipality before deciding to devote his entire time to his other responsibilities, particularly restoration and protection of Al-Aqsa mosque.
Shaikh Salah struggled unyieldingly to protect Islamic shrines from attempts to demolish or use them for other purposes. In August 2000, he was elected Chairman of Al-Aqsa Society for Restoration of Revered Islamic Shrines which played a major role in defending mosques throughout Palestine and in exposing and challenging the construction of a tunnel under Al-Aqsa mosque. He also succeeded in averting Israeli plans to take over the mosque’s affairs from Muslims and organized the massive “Al-Buragh march” in which he led tens of thousands of worshippers to pray in the mosque. He also succeeded with his colleagues in restoring the Marawani praying quarters and opening its gates for worshippers, and in refurbishing, cleaning and lighting the old Aqsa and constructing more ablution areas and restrooms for worshippers. In 1998, he led Al-Rawda events, and was able, along with Al-Rawda People’s Committee, to prevent the confiscation of Al-Rawda land. He revived the historical “stairs classes,” especially Tuesday class in Al-Aqsa mosque which is attended by about 5,000 Muslims weekly. He contributed to the establishment of “Al-Aqsa Child Fund” which fosters about 16,000 Palestinian children. Besides, he organizes the annual event “Bait Al-Maqdis is in Danger” during the month of Ramadan in which thousands of Palestinians in the occupied land participate. He also assists in organizing Al-Aqsa Scientific and Cultural Competition and in the producing documentary films and books on Al-Aqsa mosque and the threats it is facing.
It was not surprising that Shaikh Salah’s activities as Chairman of the Islamic Movement in Palestine have subjected him to considerable harassment by the occupying forces including arrests, assassination attempts and periods of imprisonment. However, none of this dissuaded him from continuing his struggle in defending Al-Aqsa Mosque and other Islamic shrines in his country. In 2010, he also participated in the Turkish Freedom Flotilla carrying humanitarian aid in an attempt to break the maritime blockade on Gaza Strip. Israeli warships raided them, killing 16 and injuring more than 36 unarmed participants and took Shaikh Salah and others to the Port of Ashdod.
Shaikh Rai’d Salah Mahagna was awarded the Prize in recognition of his following services to Islam:
- A preeminent founding member of the Islamic Movement in occupied Palestinian territories in 1948.
- Pursuing distinctive reforms and social services during his chairmanship of the Islamic Movement between 1996-2001 G.
- Serving as Chairman of Al-Aqsa Foundation for the Refurbishment of Revered Islamic Places and Chairman of the Humanitarian Relief Organization in Occupied Palestine.
- Being one the pioneers who have led many projects in Al-Aqsa Mosque, in collaboration with the Islamic Endowment Organization in Al-Quds and the Committee for the conservation of the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
- 5- Being the first to discover the tunnel dug under Al-Aqsa Mosque by the occupiers.
- Serving his countrymen by working and succeeding, together with Al-Rawha Peoples Committee, in preventing the confiscation of Al Rawha land in 1998G
- Organizing regular events titled “Al-Aqsa is in Danger” which attract thousands of Palestinians in the occupied territories and help boost their moral.