Israeli police this morning restricted freedom of religion for young Palestinian Muslims who wanted to worship at their holy site, Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City, in this holy month of Ramadan and banned many of them from entering the walled compound, police allowed free entry for Jewish fanatics seeking to change the historical status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Islamic Waqf (Endowment) Department, which is in charge of Al-Aqsa Mosque, said that dozens of extremist Jews stormed the holy compound under heavy police protection this morning and walked around its courtyards, sometimes holding rituals in a manner provocative to the Muslim worshippers.
It said that more than 1500 Jewish fanatics roamed Al-Aqsa Mosque, also known as Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), yesterday and some 1000 stormed it on Sunday as Jews mark their “Passover holiday” during which extremist groups have called on their followers to storm the Mosque in order to forcefully change the status quo that says Al-Haram Al-Sharif and its entire 144-dunum area is a Muslim-only worship site.
Since the start of the holy fast month of Ramadan, Israeli police were deployed in large numbers at the gates leading to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, checking identity cards of Palestinians seeking to enter the compound for worship, banning the young ones and others at will from entering it during the morning when the area is opened for the Jewish fanatics to freely roam it.
The restrictions, and sometimes police storming the holy site and forcefully removing the Palestinian worshippers from inside its mosques, have caused tension in the area as tens of thousands of Palestinian Muslims try to reach the compound, the third holiest site in Islam, for worship in this holy month.
As the month of Ramadan winds down, Israel is contemplating closing Al-Aqsa Mosque for Jews considering that masses of Muslims are expected to visit and worship at the holy site in the last 10 days of Ramadan, considered the most sacred days of the month.
The Jewish fanatics want their far-right government, which includes fascist and extremist members, to divide the Muslim holy site in a way that it will be open for Jewish worship also, a step Palestinians have warned could lead to religious strife.