The Muslim world has denounced Israel’s recent move to shut down the al-Aqsa Mosque after a deadly shooting at the holy mosque’s compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
The Friday gunfight took place just outside the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) and left three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers dead.
Following the incident, Israeli police closed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, briefly detained Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem al-Quds, and cancelled Muslim Friday prayers at the site.
“We insist on reaching al-Aqsa mosque and performing prayers there. The occupation preventing us from praying marks an assault against our right to worship in this pure Islamic mosque,” Sheikh Muhammad said.
The measures taken by the Tel Aviv regime drew condemnations from the Muslim world.
Arab League, Jordan demand al-Aqsa reopening
The Arab League warned against the consequences of Israel’s “dangerous” closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and ban on Friday prayers.
In a statement released on Friday, the 22-member pan-Arab organization said the move would adversely affect the so-called peace process in the region and fuel conflict, terrorism and extremism.
Israeli policemen check the body of a Palestinian after he was shot dead by Israeli police at the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem al-Quds’ Old City July 14, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
It further called on Israel to the immediately reopen al-Aqsa and avoid any attempt to change the historic status of the mosque, demanding the international community protect the Islamic and Christian sacred sites.
Additionally, Jordan, which serves as the custodian of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, urged the reopening of the site and advised Israel to “refrain from taking any step aimed at changing” the status quo of Jerusalem al-Quds or the mosque compound.
“Jordan rejects any attack on the rights of Muslims,” Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad Momani said in a statement carried by the official Petra news agency on Friday.
Qatar wants global action
In a similar development, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry censured the Israeli closure of the al-Aqsa Mosque, prevention of prayers there and declaration of the area as a closed military zone as a severe violation of the sanctity of Islamic sites and a provocation to millions of Muslims around the world.
Israeli forces stand guard as Muslim worshippers pray outside the Damascus Gate, a main entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds, on July 14, 2017, after the al-Aqsa Mosque was closed for Friday prayers by Israeli authorities following a shootout. (Photo by AFP)
In a statement, the ministry called on the international community to assume its responsibility in halting these violations.
‘Aqsa’s historical status must be respected’
Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry expressed regret over Friday’s incident, saying, “It is a humanitarian and legal obligation to respect the sanctity and historical status of the religious sites in the Israeli occupied East Jerusalem [al-Quds], especially the Haram al-Sharif.”
The Haram al-Sharif should be opened to worshippers “via the immediate lifting of the entry ban imposed by Israel and calm should be attained as soon as possible,” it added.
Dozens arrested after shooting
In the immediate aftermath Friday’s shootout, Israeli forces detained dozens of employees of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, an Islamic religious trust that manages the current Islamic edifices on and around the Haram al-Sharif.
Firas Dibs, head of the Waqf public relations, told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency that Israeli forces had detained 58 staff of the organization, and interrogated them over the gunfight.
The occupied lands have witnessed tensions ever since Israeli forces imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound two years ago.
The Tel Aviv regime has been trying to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population.
More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since October 2015, when the tensions intensified.
Tel Aviv has come under fire for using violence against Palestinians and adopting a policy of shoot-to-kill.
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July 15, 2017 at 11:23AM