Mufti of Jerusalem says Jewish visits to the Temple Mount “provoke the feelings of about two billion Muslims in the world.”
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Arab leaders, including the Mufti of Jerusalem, have warned that Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount during the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan should expect a violent response at the site and possible consequences for Israel’s security.
Palestinian and Muslim leaders have long held that Jews visiting or praying at the compound, which is the holiest site in Judaism and Islam’s third-holiest, is inherently provocative and could trigger uncontrollable violence.
Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem, warned of “dire consequences” on Wednesday should Jewish visitors continue to “be present at the Muslim holy site.”
Ignoring the historical connection between the Temple Mount and Judaism, Hussein said that the Israeli government has “malicious intentions” by not banning Jews from the site.
Israel “will be responsible for all consequences of its hideous decisions that increase and fuel hatred and hostility in the region as part of its attempt to control the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he added.
Muslims will take matters into their own hands to ensure that Jews cannot visit or pray at the Temple Mount, as such actions constitute a “heinous crime” that “harms the sanctity of Al-Aqsa,” he continued.
Permitting Jews to visit the Temple Mount “provokes the feelings of about two billion Muslims in the world, which poses a real danger and calls for a serious Arab-Islamic response.”
The Palestinian Authority-controlled WAFA news agency similarly branded the Temple Mount as a “Muslim-only worship area” and said the presence of Jews is an unacceptable blow to the status quo.
Sheikh Najah Bakirat, director-general of the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem, referred to “the approval of the Israeli occupation authorities for extremist settlers to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan” as a “a wrong racist decision, aimed at heating up the situation.”
Quiet visits to the site by Jews are typically framed by mainstream Palestinian and Arabic-language media as “settlers storming Al-Aqsa,” though visitors never step foot inside of the mosque and usually keep their distance from the building.
Tom Nisani, CEO of Beyadenu, a group advocating for Jewish visits on the Temple Mount, told World Israel News that Jews would continue to visit the site, despite the threat.
“The right of Jews to ascend the Temple Mount and pray there is a basic right, and we will not give up,” Nisani said.
“The threats of all those terrorists, from the Mufti of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority, are threats that the powerful state of Israel must ignore and, if necessary, take action on the ground to protect the Jews ascending the Temple Mount.
Nisani added that “the reaction of Islamic extremists proves that instead of celebrating their holiday, they are busy exploiting it for the purposes of terrorism and incitement and murder.”