The Supreme Palestinian Mufti, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, has issued a warning against what he says are the dangerous repercussions of excavation work Israel is allegedly carrying out next to the Al Aqsa Mosque, in territory he says is under the control of the Muslim Waqf trust, which administers the Islamic Al Aqsa complex.
He accuses Israel of trying to take over the mosque.
"The radical settlers continue the daily damage to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Hussein wrote in a statement. “They burst into the territory of the Al Aqsa Mosque and pray in it.
"The city of Al Quds [Jerusalem – DH] has an Islamic character and the occupation will not be able to take away its character and identity, even if it continues commiting crimes and forging the facts.”
The World Union of Muslim Sages declared Friday, November 22, a special day of support for the Al Aqsa Mosque and for Al Quds / Jerusalem. They called upon Muslim residents of Jerusalem to gather at the mosque in order to “protect it from the plots of the occupation authorities and the extremist Jewish groups.”
These Jewish groups, the Union of Muslim Sages said, seek to enable Jewish prayer at the site or demolish it and build the “false” Jewish Temple upon its ruins.
The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, where the two holy Temples of Israel stood prior to their destruction, and where some Jewish traditions teach that the creation of the world began.
But despite that fact, Jewish visitors to the Mount are subject to severe restrictions, including a complete ban on prayers or the performance of any other religious rituals, due to the presence of an Islamic complex there that is built on the ruins of the two Jewish Temples. This despite court orders rejecting such bans as illegally infringing on the right to freedom of religion.
Temple Mount activists have often cited such restrictions as an added imperative for Jews to frequent the Temple Mount, as a way of asserting Jewish rights at the holiest site in Israel. They also fear the "abandonment" of the Temple Mount to the Muslim Waqf, which stands accused of the systematic destruction of Jewish artifacts on the Mount.