Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, issued a warning Monday against what he called Jewish attempts to "damage" the Al Aqsa Mosque by blowing the shofar on the Temple Mount on High Holydays.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, while the Al Aqsa Mosque, which sits at the southern end of the mount, is the third-holiest site in Islam.
In a statement issued Monday, Hussein said the Temple Mount organizations are demanding that the authorities allow them to bring chairs and Torah scrolls to the Temple Mount to conduct Torah study at the Temple Mount and to open all gates to Jews and not just the Mughrabi Gate.
Hussein strongly condemned the protection given by Israeli authorities to members of the "extremist groups that break into the Al Aqsa Mosque every day in large numbers while wearing priestly clothes and blowing the shofar under the pretext of Jewish holidays."
According to the Mufti, Israel's policy permitting Jewish visits and prayer requires an immediate Arab-Islamic response, and he appealed to the relevant Muslim and Arab bodies and organizations to intervene in a situation that could degenerate into a religious war, as the goal of "the extremist Zionist groups is to destroy the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque and build the Temple in its place."
In addition, he accused the "Israeli occupation authorities" of unjustifiably closing the Ibrahimi Mosque (the Islamic name of the Cave of the Patriarchs) because of the Jewish holidays, calling the annual move an "aggression and heinous crime" designed to deprive Muslims of religious freedom.