image Photo: flash 90

Growing tensions surround the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s ancient city

One of the Imam’s of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, who formerly served as the Islamic Grant Mufti of Jerusalem – was put under house arrest last weekend – after the controversial Islamist preacher was once-again caught instigating violence against non-Muslims on the Temple Mount. Amid growing tensions vis-à-vis the Israeli Palestinian conflict –Sheikh Sabri, who has been a prominent advocate for an Islamic Jihad against Israel’s control over the Temple Mount, has once again found himself in trouble with law enforcement authorities. Prior to the reopening of the antient compound for Muslim worshippers, intelligence emerged over Imam Sabri’s intention to organize together with the Palestinian Fatah organization a political Islamic procession on the Temple Mount. After the information was corroborated, Sheikh Sabri was immediately informed that he was banned – alongside two other organizers – from entering the antient compound. “The Israeli National Police are continuing operations in and around Jerusalem, with emphasis on activities in East Jerusalem, that are being organized by any terrorist organization such as the Fatah as we saw this week, when there was a planned event that was going to take place on the Temple Mount. Police handed out a court order to prevent that event from taking place.” / “Three people were detained in connection with preparing that event and our units are mobilized in and around Jerusalem and will respond as long as necessary,” Micky Rosenfeld, Israeli Police Spokesperson. Infuriated about this decision, the Palestinian Fatah movement opted to organize a protest against the Israeli measure next to the Imam’s residence in East Jerusalem, despite the fact that Fatah – which is a Palestinian movement headed by President Mahmoud Abbas – is legally barred under Israeli law from operating in the capital of the Jewish State. Scores of Arab residents of East Jerusalem sought to hold the protest, nonetheless, in defiance of a Jerusalem court order – which Israeli police presented to the Islamist Sheikh. While several scuffles were reported, police managed to disperse the crowd. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that “three suspects were detained at the scene and are being questioned.” He once again emphasized that “Police will prevent all illegal activities from taking place by any organization that is acting against the specific laws against terrorism.” Once again infuriated about the ban of a Palestinian organized protest in the Israeli capital, Sheikh Sabri accused the police of brutality while further highlighting that the Arab residents of Jerusalem will act to “defend Al-Aqsa at any cost.” “The conduct (of the Israeli police) is against the law and uncivilized. They do not want the Arab residents of Jerusalem to have freedom of movement and they do not want the Arab residents of Jerusalem to be heard. However, we affirm that al-Aqsa (Mosque) is part of our (Muslim) faith, and we will defend Al-Aqsa at any cost. These (police) methods are brutal and uncivilized,” Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, Former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.


It is important explain that Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, who was fired from his post as the Grand mufti of Jerusalem after openly supporting suicide bombings, has for years promoted an armed struggle for an Islamic reoccupation of Jerusalem. Among others, he declared in an interview he gave to the New York Times Magazine in 1999 (Quote) “If the Jews want peace, they will stay away from Al Aksa. This is a decree from God. The Haram al-Sharif belongs to the Muslim. But we know the Jew is planning on destroying the Haram. The Jew will get the Christian to do his work for him. This is the way of the Jews. This is the way Satan manifests himself. The majority of the Jews want to destroy the mosque. They are preparing this as we speak.”