Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Mufti of Jerusalem : Jews Inside the Mosque, Muslims in the Street | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian youth during a demonstration outside the Lions Gate, a main entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, due to newly implemented measures by Israeli authorities which include metal detectors and cameras, in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday (AFP photo)

Ramallah- The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein said on Monday that all the recent Israeli measures implemented at Al-Aqsa Mosque were totally rejected, including the metal detectors to search worshipers.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Sheikh Hussein called on all Palestinians to boycott those procedures and preferred that Muslims pray in the streets and corridors of Jerusalem rather than to enter Al-Aqsa in a humiliating way.

The Grand Mufti said the Israeli authorities were working to change the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“They are gradually trying to completely control the mosque,” he said.

Sheikh Hussein said the fact that the Israelis placed metal detectors at the entrances of the compound, which led worshipers to pray outside the mosque while the radical Jews were present inside, is a clear example of the Israeli strategy to close the mosque in the face of Palestinians.

“They allow radicals to break into the mosque without any impunity, while they place a humiliating system to search Muslims. They have opened to them al-Asbat gate and placed an electronic gate in the face of Muslims,” the Sheikh said.

He added that Muslims would not accept less than entering the mosque with dignity. “We will not accept that Al-Aqsa Mosque to be treated as any commercial institution where electronic gates and guards are placed at their gates,” Sheikh Hussein said.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and the Arab League stressed their rejection of any alteration to the status quo in Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque.

And while the Fatah Movement called on Monday for a “day of rage” against increased Israeli security measures, the Hamas Movement said the battle for Al-Aqsa would remain open.

On Monday, Palestinians continued to pray at the entrances of the compound to object the new Israeli security measures while Israeli allowed radical Jews to enter Al-Aqsa, creating further tension and anger in the ranks of Muslim worshipers.

Also on Monday, an Israeli minister announced that the metal detector was not subject to any negotiation.