Middle East

Muslim scholars demand ‘action’ to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque

The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has called on the Muslim nations and their leaders to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque after the Israeli settlers’ incursions into the flashpoint area, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In a statement issued late on Sunday, the IUMS Secretary-General, Ali Al-Qaradaghi, said the Muslim Scholars “strongly condemn these provocative attempts”.

He called on the Islamic nations’ leaders and peoples to defend their “first direction to praying (qibla) direction”.

The Union also called for “doing everything possible to put an end to the occupiers’ attacks on Al-Aqsa and the Jerusalemites”.

Al-Qaradaghi appealed to “the free people in the world and the international humanitarian organisations to stand with the Palestinian people and defend their Arab and Islamic right to Al-Aqsa.”

“We follow up with great concern and sadness what is happening in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds Al-Sharif … and the Zionists’ desperate attempts to take full control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he added.

The statement came as thousands of Israeli settlers staged a flag march on Sunday to mark what they call “the day of unifying Jerusalem,” in reference to Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognised by the international community.

Clashes surrounding last year’s flag march led to an 11-day Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, during which more than 260 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured, while 13 Israelis were also killed in Palestinian fire from Gaza during the course of the conflict. The violence, the worst in years, came to a halt under an Egyptian-brokered truce.

READ: Racist Israeli flag march raises concerns about threat to status quo in occupied Jerusalem

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