The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) led by the celebrated Qatar-based cleric Dr Yusuf Al Qaradawi, has called on Muslims all over the world, including here, to observe ‘Rage and Solidarity Day’ against Israel tomorrow.
The IUMS has urged imams all over the world, including Qatar, to decry Israeli plans to build a Jewish temple within the precincts of Al Aqsa Mosque in their Friday sermons.
An IUMS statement said yesterday Israel’s temple plan eventually aims at razing Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and building a Third Structure over its debris.
The IUMS statement was jointly signed by Chairman Qaradawi and Mohamed Salim Al Awwa. “Tel Aviv’s step is extremely dangerous from the viewpoint of the safety of Al Aqsa Mosque,” read the statement.
Plans to construct the Jewish temple Al Kharab are based on Jewish myths and prophecies by Jewish Hakhams (clergy) of the 18th century. According to their beliefs, the rebuilding of the temple is the beginning of the countdown for constructing a Third Structure over Al Aqsa Mosque. “The inauguration of the temple had witnessed unusual interest in Israel and intense media coverage,” said the statement.
The IUMS has called on Muslims in the Arab and Islamic world to hold peace protests to put pressure on the governments of their respective countries to act on the issue before time runs out.
Meanwhile, Israel yesterday dismissed mounting pressure to stop building homes for Jewish settlers in annexed east Jerusalem, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying the demands were “unreasonable.”
His comments came at a time when Israel and Washington seek to tone down a diplomatic row which erupted over new settlement plans announced last week while US Vice President Joe Biden was in the region to renew peace efforts.
“This demand to forbid Jews from building in east Jerusalem is totally unreasonable,” Lieberman said at a joint news conference with visiting EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton.
On the eve of Middle East Quartet talks in Moscow, Israel and the Palestinians, meanwhile, continued to accuse each other of hampering the already hobbled peace process.
But tensions eased in Jerusalem as Israel reopened the flashpoint Al Aqsa Mosque compound one day after the Holy City saw the heaviest Palestinian rioting in years with dozens of police and protesters injured.
Israeli police, however, remained on high alert in and around the Old City where the mosque compound, the holiest site for Jews and the third holiest for Muslims, is located.
A few dozen Palestinian youths hurled rocks at security forces who responded by firing rubber-coated bullets in the Qalandia refugee camp in east Jerusalem, but the rest of the city was generally calm.
Later yesterday, violence flared up again at nearby Shuafat, where Palestinian youngsters stoned police who responded with “riot dispersal equipment,” police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said, without elaborating.
He said there were no injuries or arrests.
In the coastal town of Jaffa, adjacent to Tel Aviv, Israeli Arabs protested in solidarity with their Jerusalem brethren, carrying signs reading “Free Palestine.”
Local media reported that some of the demonstrators threw stones at city buses, but again without reports of injuries or arrests.
In the West Bank, medics said three people were wounded when Israeli troops fired rubber bullets at Palestinians hurling stones near Nablus, while the Army sealed off several roads in and around Hebron after brief clashes in that city.
But Israel lifted the complete lockdown on the occupied West Bank it had imposed almost one week earlier.