Muslim leader warns of Rosh Hashana riots on Temple Mount

Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, deputy head of the banned northern faction of the Islamic Movement, has incited violence against Jews numerous times over the years.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A Muslim-Israeli leader has threatened violence on the Temple Mount if Jews visit the holy site during the Rosh Hashana holiday at the end of September, Israel National News reported Thursday.

Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, deputy head of the northern faction of the Islamic Movement, which has been banned in Israel for its extremist stance against the Jewish state, said in a recent sermon at the Al-Aqsa Mosque that Jews are preparing to “desecrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana.”

He alleged that they would do this by “blowing the shofar [ram’s horn] and wearing priests’ clothing.” He also claimed that they intend to “bring animal sacrifices.”

This, he said, “will cause riots. Al-Aqsa Mosque will never be the Temple and it will remain in Muslim hands.”

Al-Khatib has made threats many times over the years, in particular against Jews visiting the Temple Mount, calling such peaceful pilgrimages a “defilement” of the mosque  and an “invasion.”

In his most recent speech, Al-Khatib asserted that “Palestinians have thwarted 19 plans to occupy the Mosque.”

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Before Passover, when the movement called Return to the Mount offered cash prizes to those who would even attempt to bring a lamb to the holy site to be ritually slaughtered as in the days of the Temple, the sheikh issued a thinly veiled call for violence.

“Our people know exactly what is required of them, and appreciate the honor of the preparations in Al-Aqsa Mosque and in Jerusalem, in order to thwart the plans of the Jews and settlers,” he said at the time.

The cleric has been jailed repeatedly over the years for his anti-Israel rhetoric, which has included comparisons of Israel to “a louse which nests in the body of the Arab world and sucks its blood” and has compared rabbis to “fleas.”

Last year, Al-Khatib was arrested on charges of incitement and supporting a terrorist organization for praising, at rallies and on Facebook, the heavy Arab rioting in mixed Arab-Jewish cities that took place during the IDF’s Operation Guardian of the Walls against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A month later, he was released with a row of restrictions that included banning his use of the internet, speaking in public or giving interviews, and being in any gathering of more than 15 people.