Sheikh Raad Salah, the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, said Thursday that he is planning to ensure that thousands of Muslims will arrive in Jerusalem’s Old City every day to pray at the Al-Aksa mosque, located on the Temple Mount. Salah said he has been talking with local clan leaders, and convincing them to take turns bringing their entire extended families to the mosque.
Salah also reported that he plans to close down Jerusalem mosques on Friday, the Muslim day of rest, in order to force all those who wish to take part in group prayers to travel to the Al-Aksa mosque. He has talked to Muslim leaders in other parts of Israel, he said, asking them to tell their followers to visit the mosque in order to demonstrate a strong Muslim presence there.
The Islamic Movement is a branch of the international Muslim Brotherhood, as is Hamas. Group members call Salah the leader of the “1948 branch,” referring to those Muslims who have been in Israel since the founding of the modern Jewish state in 1948.