In the wake of violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces outside the iconic Masjid al-Aqsa last week, the president of the al-Quds Foundation and Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), Maulana Ighsaan Hendricks, has warned that the sanctity of Islam’s third holiest site remains under threat. Al-Aqsa mosque was the scene of violent protests on Wednesday morning when police bared Palestinians from entering the masjid, before escorting individuals from a right-wing Jewish group into the mosque. The group were reported to be visiting al-Aqsa as part of their celebrations for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
Outraged Palestinian protestors reportedly hurled objects at Israeli police in retaliation, who in turn responded by chasing the protestors towards the mosque.
Commenting on the situation on VOC’s Breakfast Beat, Hendricks said the incident was part of an intensified effort by Israeli groups to strengthen their stranglehold on Al-Aqsa. He said such incidents had become an ever present situation since the beginning of the year.
Despite the Israeli narrative suggesting that the group had entered the mosque as part of their celebrations for the day of Sukkot, Hendricks said such desecrations of the holy mosque were actually being driven by Zionist ideologies.
“The whole idea is that Masjid Al-Aqsa, which is the first Qiblah of the Muslimeen, should of course be replaced by the Temple of Solomon,” he warned.
He accused the Israeli regime of using divisive methods in its occupation of Al-Aqsa, most notably with their attempts to separate the mosque into designated sections for the both Muslims and Jews.
“We must remain vigilant, and we need to intensify our activism, not only on the broader Palestinian matter, but particular on Masijid al-Aqsa,” he said.
Hendricks condemned the silence of the international community towards“the acts of desecration taking place at the holy places of the Muslim and Christian communities in Palestine.”
On Monday, UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, openly condemned Israel for its continued expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian territories. The statement came at the same time as a symbolic vote in the British parliament, in favour of recognizing Palestine as a state. Despite this, Hendricks described it as a “public relations exercise” towards the Palestinian people.
“It was a symbolic exercise, and nothing close to the real McCoy that is required by the Palestinian people. Of course the British should be ashamed of themselves, because they handed Palestine on a platter to the Zionists occupiers,” he said.
The MJC will be hosting an urgent meeting with local ulema on Thursday, in which a presentation will be given on the long running “divisive plan” of the Zionist regime. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)