Jerusalem Muslim Cleric Hate

Jerusalem mufti: Temple Mount never housed Jewish Temple

Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein says Al-Aqsa Mosque has been atop disputed holy site ‘since creation of the world’

BY ILAN BEN ZION
October 25, 2015

The Times of Israel

The grand mufti of Jerusalem, the Muslim cleric in charge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, said Sunday that there has never been a Jewish temple atop the Temple Mount, and that the site has been home to a mosque “since the creation of the world.

Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein said in an Arabic interview with Israel’s Channel 2 that the site, considered the third holiest in Islam and the holiest to Jews, was a mosque “3,000 years ago, and 30,000 years ago” and has been “since the creation of the world.”

“This is the Al-Aqsa Mosque that Adam, peace be upon him, or during his time, the angels built,” the mufti said of the 8th-century structure commissioned by Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan.

Hussein has held the post of mufti since 2006; he was appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He has previously endorsed suicide bombings against Israelis.

He vehemently denied that there has ever been a Jewish shrine atop the Temple Mount, despite rich archaeological and textual evidence to the contrary, including from Muslim sources. The 10th-century Muslim historian Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Shams al-Din al-Muqaddasi wrote in his description of Syria and Palestine that “in Jerusalem is the oratory of David and his gate; here are the wonders of Solomon and his cities,” and that the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque “were laid by David.”

A guide to the Haram al-Sharif, as the Temple Mount is known in Arabic, published by the Muslim Waqf in 1924 also mentioned the presence of two Jewish temples atop the Jerusalem compound in antiquity.
At least four inscriptions from Herod’s Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, attest to the presence of a Jewish temple atop the 37-acre platform he had engineered over 2,000 years ago.

One of Hussein’s predecessors as chief custodian of the Jerusalem holy site, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, made headlines recently after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged in a speech that the Palestinian Muslim leader inspired Adolf Hitler’s Final Solution of exterminating the Jews. Netanyahu took flak from Holocaust scholars, politicians, and even the German government, who pointed out that the extermination of Europe’s Jews was already in full swing when Husseini met Hitler in 1941, and that there was no concrete evidence to support that charge.

The Jerusalem holy site has been the focus of recent violent clashes between Israeli security officers and Palestinian rioters, and ostensible plans by Israel to change its status, repeatedly denied by the government, have been a catalyst for a wave of Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis.

While Jewish visitors are allowed to enter the site, Jewish worship is banned under arrangements instituted by Israel when it captured the area from Jordan in the 1967 war.

Israel and Jordan agreed Saturday to placing CCTV cameras on the Temple Mount in a bid to calm tensions and monitor possible violations of the status quo, a move rejected by Palestinian leaders.

Top Islamic cleric in Jerusalem makes speech that shocks Israelis

07 February, 2012
pri.org

Israeli officials are outraged over a comment by the top Islamic cleric in Jerusalem. Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, quoted Islamic scripture that's widely viewed as an attack on Jews and Judaism.

On Friday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei referred to the Jewish State as a “cancerous tumor” — for example. But a recent speech from another Muslim leader, much closer to the Israel, has drawn criticism from the highest levels of the Israeli government.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein is the top Muslim official for the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem and the Palestinian areas, including the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest place. The current mufti was appointed by Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party.

Last month, Hussein spoke at a Fatah anniversary ceremony. And he quoted a well-known hadith, or saying, attributed to the Prophet Mohammad.

“The hour will not come until you fight the Jews,” Hussein said. “The Jews will hide behind rocks and trees. And the rocks and trees will call out, ‘oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him!’”

“The hour” is a reference to the end of days.

So, what was the mufti trying to say exactly, by citing this particular hadith at a political meeting right now? At his home in Jerusalem, Sheikh Hussein tried to explain.

“The hadith, the statements by prophet Mohammad that I quoted, was a statement that talked about the after-life,” Hussein said. “It was not talking about the practical relationship between Muslims and Jews.”

Hussein said there was nothing wrong with using the quote and he didn't apologize for it.

But the Israeli government is deeply offended. The mufti is said to be the subject of an investigation and he could be charged with incitement. Government spokesman Mark Regev said the Palestinian Authority should have immediately condemned the speech.

“I would argue that the Palestinian leadership has both a legal and moral obligation to condemn this sort of hate talk,” Regev said. “If they say they want peace, they shouldn’t tolerate this sort of language. In the signed agreements between Israelis and Palestinians” Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas has a legal obligation to prevent this.

Palestinian Media Watch, a watchdog group based in Jerusalem, first called attention to the speech. Director Itamar Marcus pointed out that the hadith quoted by the mufti of Jerusalem is the same one found in the charter of Hamas, the Islamic militant group devoted to Israel’s destruction. Marcus says the mufti’s speech is part of a growing problem of Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israel.

“The mufti’s call for violence is an isolated call from the mufti, but it’s not an isolated call from the Palestinian Authority,” Marcus said.

Video shown on the Palestinian Authority’s official TV channel add up, Marcus believes, to a media environment that aims to stoke hatred of Israelis and Jews, and to glorify violence.

Another Israeli who has spent a lot of time studying statements from Palestinians is Matti Steinberg. He worked for more than 30 years with the Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence agency. He’s also an expert on Islamic fundamentalism.

Steinberg said he probably knows the hadith quoted by the mufti of Jerusalem by heart. It has been used by Islamists going back to the 1920s. The fact that the mufti has quoted the hadith again, Steinberg said, is worrisome and dangerous. But not surprising.

Steinberg said, the West Bank leadership is opposed to violence. But in the current climate, the Palestinian Authority is utterly stuck. Fatah leaders have been trying to sell the Palestinian public on the idea of a negotiated, two-state solution with Israel since the early 1990s. But the peace process is going nowhere.
“It is a sign [of] the total disappointment and frustration of a real political process,” Steinberg said. “There is a world of difference between  innate extremism and radicalization, which is caused by the failure of a pragmatic political settlement.”

Steinberg said there is another reason to worry. When pragmatism fails, he said, it becomes much easier for extremists to frame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in religious terms. And that goes for either side, he added. The problem is, in a religious conflict, there’s no room for political compromise.


Jerusalem Muslim leader calls for halt in Israeli excavation project By RAVI NESSMAN (Associated Press Writer)
Associated Press
01/03/2006

JERUSALEM - The top Muslim cleric in the Holy Land on Tuesday called on Israel to halt work on an archaeological project near a disputed holy site, saying continuing the dig would inflame tensions in the region.

Israeli authorities recently unveiled an underground site that strengthens Jewish ties to the hilltop compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram as-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary.

The compound was the site of the biblical Jewish temples, and is considered so holy that many observant Jews will not go there for fear of defiling it. It currently houses the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques and is revered by Muslims as the place where Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Israel has conducted archaeological digs near the compound since it captured the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast War. The digs infuriate the Palestinians and the Islamic Trust that oversees the mosque complex. The competing claims to the site have often acted as a catalyst for Israeli-Palestinian fighting.

In September, Israel unveiled a tourist center at the underground site near the compound that details the Jewish connection to the site. The center showcases a ritual bath from the period of the second Jewish Temple, destroyed in 70 A.D., and a wall archaeologists say dates to the first Jewish Temple, destroyed in 586 B.C.

The top Muslim clergyman, or mufti, of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, called the archaeological project an "aggression" that threatened the mosque compound and demanding an immediate end to the digs.

"These violations and aggression lead to tension in the region," he said Tuesday.

In 1996, Palestinians rioted after Israel opened an archaeological tunnel alongside the compound. Eighty people were killed in the violence.

In September 2000, then-opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited the mosque compound. The next day, violence erupted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, evolving into a nearly five-year Palestinian uprising that killed more than 3,500 people on the Palestinian side and more than 1,000 people on the Israeli side.

Sabri and other local Muslim leaders also accused Israel of opening a synagogue in the newly opened site, which they considered a challenge to their own claims to the compound.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the chief rabbi of the Western Wall, said there was no new synagogue at the site and the digs did not go into the compound.

"It's lies and there is nothing behind what they are saying," he said.

Sheik Raed Salah, a radical leader of Israel's Islamic Movement, called the excavations a "black stain" on Israel and accused the government of plotting to destroy the mosques to build a new temple.

"You are inviting an uprising against you just to stop your attack on the mosque," he said.

Israel has repeatedly denied any plans to damage the mosques and has stopped several attempts by Jewish extremists to destroy the shrines.

"The third temple will not be built by people. As we know in the Jewish faith it will be built by God," Rabinovitch said.

 

Muslim Leader Threatens Gay Activists Planning Parade in Jerusalem

July 06, 2006

by Jim Kouri - JERUSALEM -- Last week a top Muslim leader, Sheik Ibrahim Sarsur, who is also a member of the Israeli Kensett, warned gays that "if they dare to approach the Temple Mount during the World Pride 2006 parade in Jerusalem - they will do so over our dead bodies."

Charles Merrill, 72, a gay rights activist, defiantly replied, "I will be approaching the Temple Mount out of love and forgiveness to those who hate us. If the three major religions in the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) want us stoned to death as it dictates in their ancient scriptures, then our gentle innocent blood will be on their hands. Gays are
the meek in society and love all of humanity."

Merrill is one of thousands of homosexuals who will be taking part in World Pride 2006, a gay event in the holy city of Jerusalem. The event, which is held in a different world city every four years, was to have been in Jerusalem last summer but postponed due to the Israeli pullout from the Gaza.

Sheik Sarsur warns that he will use all means at his disposal to stop the gay pride parade and festivities in a city that is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims, and may find such an event would defile the city's sanctity. Other religious leaders have also condemned the use of Jerusalem for political activism.

Merrill says he will be marching in Jerusalem on August 10th as a celebration of universal love, and love across borders. Merrill's same sex partner, Kevin Boyle, will remain in the USA to carry on in the event of Merrill's death at the hands of religious extremists.

But some gays aren't big on the idea of this particular parade. One man said that the parade will do more damage than good.

"Rubbing our lifestyles in the faces of religious people and leaders is not the way to achieve acceptance and support for our rights. Jerusalem is considered the holiest city on earth by three religions that have millions and millions of followers. It's not the way to win them over," said the man, a New York City fashion designer who wished to remain anonymous.

Merrill, 72 - whose cousin, Charles Merrill, founded Merrill Lynch, and whose late wife, Evangeline, was the only daughter of Johnson & Johnson founder Robert Wood Johnson - wants other gays to join him in World Pride 2006, Jerusalem, Israel.

If Merrill's name sounds familiar, it's because he's also one of the founders of a growing movement in the United States for homosexuals to withhold their taxes until the government recognizes gay partners as having the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples.

According to the two gay activists, the momentum for the same-sex marriage tax protest started with a Page Six article in the New York Post and in an article on the Internet news organization WorldNetDaily.com in February 2006.

The articles covered how Merrill and his partner protested an anti-gay marriage amendment sponsored by President Bush.

Merrill said in a released statement, "As a result of nationwide publicity, we have had e-mails from hundreds of gay men and women from all over the country wanting to join us and asking how they could be a part of the gay tax protest."

Boyle added, "We gays will gladly pay our taxes once the government stops discriminating against us and passes laws that allows us to marry the person[sic] we love. We deserve the same Federal and State benefits as other married citizens."

Discrimination in the tax code also caught the attention of Howard Dean, chairman of the National Democratic Party. In a recent speech on June 3, 2006 to the gay political group National Stonewall Democrats' conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dean mentioned the outrage of gays and lesbians who are denied the benefits of marriage.

He is quoted as saying, "It is wrong for our tax code to be discriminatory. And it is wrong for any group of Americans to live in fear of hate crimes. We (Democrat Party) believe that every taxpayer should have the same government services and benefits as any other American."

Dean also said, "The fight continues, and the Democrat Party is standing with you by leading the fight against discrimination, and by helping you meet your electoral objectives this fall...."

The World Gay Pride parade may be cancelled, however, due to the continuing violence in the region between the Palestinian terrorists and the Israeli defense forces.

 

Islamic heads call for violence over work by Temple Mount

Etgar Lefkovits,
THE JERUSALEM POST
Feb. 6, 2007

In a new showdown, Islamic leaders on Tuesday called for a new wave of violence against Israel over a contested Israeli archeological excavation near the Temple Mount.

The threats came as Israeli archeologists pressed ahead with a three-week-old salvage excavation in the archeological garden outside the Temple Mount ahead of the planned construction of a new bridge to the Mughrabi Gate.

"The danger in Jerusalem has increased. It is high time for the intifada of the Islamic people," the fiery leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel Raed Salah told reporters near the holy site on Tuesday.

"The continued Israeli aggression on Al Aksa Mosque and Jerusalem require all Palestinians to unite and remember that our battle is with the occupation," said Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.

The bridge, which is being built under the auspices of Israel's Antiquities Authority, will replace the temporary bridge which has been constructed on the section of the Western Wall allocated for women's prayer after the original stone ramp leading up to the Mughrabi Gate was removed, having been deemed unsafe by city engineers.

Israeli officials repeatedly emphasized Tuesday that the work underway at the site was outside the confines of the Temple Mount, and posed no danger to the mosque at the site.

"The construction of the bridge, located in its entirety outside the Temple Mount, has no impact on the Mount itself and certainly poses no danger to it," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said.

"There is nothing on earth that can cause damage to the walls of the Temple Mount, and certainly not to any structures inside," said Dr. Gideon Avni, the director of excavations and surveys at the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

He noted however that there was no cooperation with Islamic officials at the site over the issue.

According to decades-old regulation in place at the Temple Mount, Israel maintains overall security control at the site, while the Wakf, or Islamic Trust, is charged with day- to-day administration of the ancient compound.

By law, Israel is required to carry out a 'salvage excavation' before any construction goes ahead in the country. More than half a dozen such excavations are underway in the Old City of Jerusalem at present.

The decision over "when and how" to carry out the work near the Temple Mount has been going on for two years now, the Antiquities Authority archeologist said.

Jerusalem Police chief Ilan Franco said Tuesday that the work would take eight months to complete.

He added that 2000 police were deployed in and around the Old City on Tuesday to maintain law and order.

"It is clear to anyone who stands here that all the work is taking place outside the compound of the Temple Mount," Franco said in a briefing at the Western Wall plaza, where dozens of journalists had gathered to watch the work.

In low-level skirmishes, dozens of Arab teens pelted police with stones in various locations throughout east Jerusalem.

There were no injuries or damage reported.

11 suspects were arrested by police for taking part in the violence, Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said.

Earlier Tuesday, police had barred non-Muslims from entering the Temple Mount and restricted Muslim entry to the holy site to men over the age of 45 in a largely successful effort to ward off violence at the compound for the day.

The new bridge, which has received a green light from both the city's planning committee and the blessing of the rabbi of the Western Wall, is slated to tower above the archaeological garden adjacent to the Western Wall, and will be supported by as many as eight pylons in the archeological garden.

The garden, located outside the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount, has been deemed one of the most significant archeological parks in Israel and the world.

The original stone ramp, which was built after the Six Day War in 1967, and served as the point of entry for non-Muslim visitors entering the Temple Mount, was badly damaged during an earthquake that rattled that region three years ago and by inclement wintry weather.

After being deemed unsafe by city engineers, the strategically-placed ramp was removed and a new temporary bridge was built next to it, which has cut off the allocated space for women's prayer at the Western Wall by more than one-third.

The Antiquities Authority was at pains Tuesday to explain why it decided not to support the existing ramp as some Israeli archeologists had proposed, or to use the existing route in building the new bridge.

The Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest and Islam's third holiest site, has been the scene of violence in the past, which later spilled out across the country.

Israel's opening of the Western Wall tunnels in 1996 was followed by a wave of Palestinian violence that killed 80 people, while Ariel Sharon's 2000 visit to the Temple Mount as opposition leader was followed by the latest round of Palestinian violence that has continued for over six years.

Israeli efforts to downplay the dig near the bitterly contested holy site -- known as the tinderbox of the Middle East -- fell on deaf ears in the Arab public, with Arab media playing up the heated rhetoric of Islamic officials blasting the work.

MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List) warned on Tuesday that the excavations are likely to ignite a third intifada, which will include protests and conflict throughout the Arab and Muslim world.

"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," El-Sana said.

The latest controversy comes as an ancient wooden pulpit destroyed four decades ago by a deranged Australian tourist hoping to hasten the coming of the Messiah was restored in the El Aksa Mosque, and as Jordan presses ahead with plans to build a fifth minaret at the site.

Last decade, Wakf officials built the largest mosque in Israel in an underground architectural support of the Temple Mount known as the Solomon's Stables.

The construction of the mosque, which was carried out without any archeological supervision, was later called an "unprecedented archeological crime" by Israel's top archeological body.

 

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