EXCLUSIVE – Al Aqsa Mosque Chief Preacher Warns Temple Mount Tensions Not Over Yet

muslim Sheikh Ekrima Sabri
AP/Joao Silva

TEL AVIV — Leaders of the Waqf and Muslim figures in Jerusalem are waiting for a report from a special committee of engineers and inspectors commissioned to determine what so-called damages Israel may have caused to the Temple Mount complex during the two weeks Muslim worshipers were absent from the site.

Israel reportedly only placed the detectors and high-tech cameras at the entrances to the Temple Mount and not on the actual complex itself or inside any mosques. Yet the Waqf has been claiming that it needs to investigate whether Israel damaged mosques on the Mount, especially the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Muslims here boycotted the Mount after Israel installed metal detectors at the entrances to the site, claiming the security arrangements were part of an Israeli conspiracy to hamper Muslim worship on the Mount. Israel’s security measures were put into place as a direct response to a Palestinian terrorist attack on the Mount earlier this month in which three assailants somehow smuggled weapons onto the site. Israel removed all newly installed measures following two weeks of violent protests.

In a conversation with Breitbart Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, Director of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem and the head preacher of the Al Aqsa Mosque, said, “What was achieved last week at the Al Aqsa Mosque was a victory, but we aren’t treating it as an overwhelming victory and we continue to call on all Muslim youth in Jerusalem to be alert and prepared to deal with potential actions from Israel.”

The sheikh added, “The Muslim leadership is waiting for a clear report from the committee of engineers in order to estimate the damages the Israelis caused to the mosque. The committee will present us with all the results of the damage to the mosque for the entire period when the gates of the mosque were closed to us and then we’ll decide what steps we’ll take.”

Sabri stated further that the Muslim leadership in Jerusalem is coordinating its survey with Palestinian and Jordanian leaders in order to ensure a united and cohesive stance in all matters related to the Al Aqsa Mosque.

“Despite the Israeli regression, as far as we’re concerned the situation still hasn’t returned 100 percent to what it was before the 14 of July and we are continuing our contacts with the Palestinian and Jordanian leaderships and updating them on all that happens in the hope that these contacts and the observations of the committee of engineers will allow the formation of a final position against the occupation as a response to the actions made recently, especially inside the mosque when worshipers didn’t go inside in protest against the electronic detectors,” he said.

The sheikh stressed that, “We have no intention of giving up on any of our rights and we won’t give up the demand to return the situation to what it was before the 14 of July. We won’t give up until all our conditions and demands are accepted, including the release of all the young men who were arrested during the clashes that erupted around the mosque in protest over Israel’s actions.”

Sabri said that the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and the Jordanians are aware of the demands of the Muslim leadership in Jerusalem and that the two sides expect to receive the special report from the engineers and inspectors that will determine the extent of the damage to the mosque during the period of clashes while Muslims didn’t enter the site.

“We won’t accept anything less than the reversal of all negative changes and we won’t accept anything less than our full demands,” said Sabri. “We won’t give up and we’ll continue to deal with Israel’s actions and its attempts to harm the existing situation at the mosque and its attempts to blur its actions over the past two weeks.”

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