An Islamic cleric warned the United States government last Friday in a sermon at the Temple Mount’s Al Aqsa Mosque to “take its hands off Muslims.”
The service was led by Imam Al Hammouri, a member of the Jerusalem-based pan-Islamic Hizb ut-Tahrir (party of Liberation) organization, founded in 1953. The group, which boasts a worldwide membership of approximately one million across 40 countries, is dedicated to establishing a worldwide Islamic Caliphate (Muslim Empire) that will force Islamic law upon all of its subjects.
The gathering was allowed by Israeli and Jerusalem authorities as part of the regular Friday weekly Islamic prayers (Friday being the Islamic Sabbath), especially within the context of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan.
Promoted as a demonstration of support for the deposed Islamist Muslim Brotherhood-backed former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, participants in the gathering brought posters bearing Morsi’s photo to the mosque. They yelled “Down with peaceful solutions!” and Whoever negotiates with America... is a collaborator and a coward.”
A four-minute video of the threat was translated and posted on the Internet this week by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), showing Imam Al Hammouri whipping the worshipers into a frenzy of hate during prayers marking the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
In his sermon, Al Hammouri incited the crowd in the mosque, located in the plaza where Judaism’s holiest Temple once stood in the Old City of Jerusalem, exhorting the crowd to conquer and destroy the enemies of the Nation of Islam.
“We warn you, O America: Take your hands off the Muslims,” the imam shouted. “You have wreaked havoc in Syria, and before that in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and now in Egypt.
“Who do you think we are, America?” he demanded to the ecstatic responses of the mob, who chanted, “O Obama, listen up. The Caliphate shall return. Our Nation will never be humiliated. We desire to cleanse it of the impure.”
Al Hammouri threatened, “We are the Nation of Islam – a giant and mighty nation, which extends from east to west.
“Soon we will teach you a political and military lesson, Allah Willing. Allah HuAkbar. All glory to Allah.”
The situation on the Temple Mount has become increasingly dangerous for Jews, despite the fact that the site is technically under Israeli sovereignty. The Israeli government handed over authority over the area to the Islamic Waqf Religious Council years ago, which bars Jews from even murmuring or nodding their heads as they move around on the site, for fear they may be praying.
Israeli police are required to escort every Jewish group that ascends the Temple Mount in order to ensure their security, and at the first sign of harassment by Muslims, the Jews are rushed away, with few if any consequences for their attackers.
This week on Tisha B’Av, Judaism’s second holiest fast day on the Jewish calendar, the site was closed altogether to entry by Jews due to fears of clashes with Muslims, who had rioted over Jewish presence on the site for days prior.
Deputy Religious Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Bayit Yehudi voiced his great displeasure this week over the police decision to bar Jews from the site on the holy Jewish fast day, and vowed to change the situation.
“On the fast of Tisha B’Av, in the in which every person in Israel feels the pain of the destruction of the Temple, the ascent of Jews to the Temple Mount, the place where our first and second Temples dwelt, was forbidden only because they feared rioting by Muslims.
“How can it be that in Israel, in the name of the principles of equality and freedom of religion, Jews can be forbidden from ascending to the Temple Mount, the holiest place for Jews, because of a fear of rioting by Muslims? It is time to change this reality,” the rabbi said.