Friday for Al-Aqsa Mosque Defense

The Islamic Movement has declared Friday, February 9, a day for defending Al-Aqsa Mosque against continued Israeli excavations at Islam's third holiest shrine.

Friday for Al-Aqsa Mosque Defense

"Friday will be dedicated for defending Al-Aqsa," said spokesman Zahi Nugaydat.

"We call on the Arab and Muslim peoples to observe Friday in defense of the holy site."

The movement said it will organize a massive protest in the town of Nazareth to observe the Al-Aqsa Day.

"We hope that our call would be heeded," Nugaydat said.

"Al-Aqsa is the shrine of all Muslims, not only the Palestinians."

Cashing on deafening world silence, Israeli bulldozers started Tuesday, February 6, demolishing a wooden bridge leading to the Al-Maghariba Gate of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and two underground rooms.

The Israel Antiquities Authority claims the work, expected to take months, aims to strengthen an access ramp to Dung Gate for the "benefit and safety of visitors" after damage caused by an earthquake and snowstorms in February 2004.

But the Waqf religious trust says Israeli excavations endanger the foundations of the Al-Aqsa compound.

The compound, known as Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the Muslims' first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and its the third holiest shrine after Al Ka'bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj -- the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).

This represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict as Jews claim that their alleged Haykal (Temple of Solomon) exists underneath Al-Haram Al-Sharif.

In an attempt to confront Israeli schemes threatening the mosque, the Waqfs Ministry released some one million copies of an electronic guide about the mosque and its compound.

Mobilization

The Dublin-based International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) also called on Muslims worldwide to join hands to defend Al-Aqsa.

"Any harm to Al-Aqsa will spark massive anger in the Muslim world," it warned in a statement received by IslamOnline.net.

"We call on Muslims to spare no efforts to defend the holy place by staging peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins."

The IUMS also urged intellectuals to "mobilize the Muslim nation against Zionist schemes targeting Al-Aqsa."

It called on the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the UN and EU to intervene to stop the Israeli desecration of the holy site.

The IUMS, which was launched in July 2004 as a reference for all Muslims worldwide, called on the Palestinians, regardless of their factional affiliations, to close ranks and join hands in defending Al-Aqsa.

"Israel would have never dared attempt to demolish Al-Aqsa unless the Palestinians were preoccupied by their infighting.

"The Palestinians should stand up to defend Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Last week, infighting between rival Hamas and Fatah claimed the lives of nearly 30 people and injured scores others.

The groups traded blame for provoking the violence, which has exacerbated the woes of Palestinians gripped by the worst economic crisis in their recent history following a Western aid freeze after Hamas took office last March.

Threat

The Israeli digging at Al-Aqsa Mosque has sparked worldwide condemnation.

Jordanian King Abdullah II said the Israeli excavation is "a threat to the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque".

Jordan, which has a formal role in the maintenance of Al-Quds holy sites, has lodged a formal complaint asking Israel to stop the work.

Abdullah said that the Israeli excavations were a "blatant violation and a dangerous escalation".

"These measures will only create an atmosphere that will not at all help in the success of efforts being undertaken to restore the peace process," he added.

Moroccan King Mohamed VI said that Israeli practices aim "to tarnish the Islamic identity of the city", calling for an immediate halt of the Israeli excavations.

Sheikh Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the highest seat of learning in the Sunni world, called on Muslims worldwide to move to defend Al-Aqsa.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's biggest opposition group, also pressed for an immediate action to defend the holy site.

Intifada

The Israeli digging has even sparked furor inside Israel amid fears that it could spark a third intifada.

MK Talab El-Sana said the excavations were likely to ignite a third intifada that would also engulf the Arab and Muslim worlds.

"The Israeli government is again provoking the Muslim world and the Palestinian people, and is not hesitating to ignite the region on behalf of irresponsible decisions," he told Haaretz.

The second intifada broke out in September 2000 after a provocative visit by then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the mosque compound.

Sana accused the Israeli government of trying to "deflect attention away from their failures in the war in Lebanon."

The Aqsa Mosque has been a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the past.

In the aftermath of the 1967 war, Israeli authorities reduced to rubble historical sites and corners near Al-Maghariba gate and erased Al-Maghariba alley from Al-Quds map.

On August 21, 1969, the mosque was set ablaze, gutting its southern wing –- some 1,500 square meters out of a total of 4,400 -- and destroyed the historical pulpit established by Muslim hero Salahudin Al-Ayyubi.

Palestinians have repeatedly warned that ultra-orthodox Jewish groups were planning to dynamite the mosque.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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