Church heads slam ruling allowing Jewish prayer at Al-Aqsa

Jerusalem Heads of Churches slam Israeli decision allowing Jewish prayers at Al-Aqsa
2 min read
13 October, 2021
The Churches of Jerusalem and their parishioners released a statement saying they 'stand by their Muslim brothers and sisters' after an Israeli court ruling allowing silent Jewish worship on the Muslim holy site.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is the third holiest site in Islam [Getty]

The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem condemned an Israeli decision to allow Jews to pray "silently" in the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, also known as Al-Haram Al-Sharif, in occupied East Jerusalem.

Last week, an Israeli judge ruled that the silent prayer of Jews at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex was not a "criminal act", in the first ruling by an Israeli court to support Jewish prayers at the flashpoint compound.

The patriarchs on Monday released a statement urging the decision affects the exclusive right of Muslims to their holy sanctuary, labelling it as unjust.

They warned that the ruling has dangerous repercussions with the utmost seriousness regarding Al-Haram Al-Sharif, the Holy City, and the existing historical and legal status-quo in Jerusalem.

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The Islamic Waqf Department of the Jordanian Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Waqf, and Holy Sanctuaries are the only entities with the right to administer the holy site and decide who gets to visit it, the patriarchs affirmed.

The Churches of Jerusalem and their parishioners "stand by their Muslim brothers and sisters in this injustice that has befallen upon them," the statement added.

Although this is the first court order that legalises Jewish prayers inside Al-Aqsa's compound, Israeli police have allowed regular settler incursions into the holy site, while arresting Palestinian worshippers.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and a key Palestinian national symbol.

Some Jews believe it is the site of two biblical-era temples. 

Muslim worshippers' access to Al-Aqsa and the adjoining Dome of the Rock is tightly controlled by Israeli security forces.

It is located in East Jerusalem,  which was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.