Tension rises between Muslim-Jewish worshipers in Jerusalem, ahead of ‘Tisha B’Av’

Deputy Chairman of the Islamic Movement’s Northern Chapter Sheikh Kamal Khatib called last night for a mass Muslim pilgrimage this Sunday to the al-Aksa Mosque, which is located on the Temple Mount, when the Jewish mourning day of Tisha B’Av is marked that commemorates the destruction of both biblical temples. Sheikh Khatib urged Muslims to attend the compound during the Jewish holiday to assert Islamic dominance at the shrine. The call by the Muslim cleric comes just three days after he was detained by police for questioning on suspicion of incitement.

In advance of Tisha B’Av, Jewish organizations that call for the construction of a third Temple have issued a call to increase the number of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. One initiative even spoke about placing mats at the site for people who are fasting, so that they can stay close to the mount.  The Jerusalem District Police is expected to be on a higher level of alert given the large number of both Jewish and Muslim visitors.

It is important to note that as to the Status Quo, the Latin term for “The way it was before the war,” only Muslim worshipers are permitted to pray at the site, which is considered to be the third holiest site in Islam titled ‘Haram al Sharif’ – Arabic for “the Holy Sanctuary”. Jews and Christians are allowed to visit the site, during specific hours set by the police, yet are forbidden to pray – even though this reality is in clear contrast to the peace agreement between Jordan and Israel which states in article nine subsection three of the treaty that both sides would advance in implementing freedom of worship to all monotheistic religions.