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Mufti warns of plans to register Aqsa as Israeli property

Jan. 15, 2015 5:44 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 16, 2015 5:27 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Mufti of Jerusalem on Wednesday warned against attempts to undermine the independence of the Al-Aqsa mosque in light of an attempt by an Israeli organization to register the area as Israeli property.

Sheikh Muhammad Hussein condemned the plan, adding that it comes amid ongoing Israeli "aggression" against the mosque and efforts by authorities to impose control on the Islamic waqf property and potentially divide the mosque to allow a Jewish prayer area.

The statement came after an Israeli organization announced a plan to register the Al-Aqsa mosque and the area it sits on, known as the Temple Mount in English, in the Israeli Land Registry System as a property belonging to Israeli authorities in order to build a Jewish synagogue in the area.

The plan reportedly would be the first step in constructing the Third Temple atop the mosques currently located in the area, according to Hussein.

The mufti said that Israeli authorities are responsible for the consequences of such dangerous violations and that all Palestinians must stand against these plans.

Sheikh Hussein also called upon both the Islamic and Arab nations and the world to uphold their responsibilities towards al-Aqsa and stop such plans before it is too late, saying that the area belongs to Muslims.

Because of the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa compound, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls it to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area.

Jewish prayer is instead allowed in the Western Wall part of the complex, immediately beside the mosque.

Israeli forces, however, regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

According to mainstream Jewish religious leaders, Jews are forbidden from entering for fear they would profane the "Holy of Holies," or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple. However, some religious Zionist groups advocate the destruction of the mosques currently on the site in order to construct a third temple.

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

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