The Islamic Waqf (Endowment) department, which is in charge of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, warned today that any Israeli changes to the decades-old status quo at the walled compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif could ignite a religious war in the area.
The warning came after recent calls by extremist Jewish groups to break into one of the mosques within the compound and hold Jewish prayers there starting Sunday.
Extremist Jewish groups are demanding to turn the mosque by the closed Bab al-Rahmah (Golden Gate) area into a Jewish temple, a step toward changing the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound that considers the entire 144 dunums of the compound, both underground and above it, with all its buildings, courtyards, terraces, walls, and the roads leading to it to be a purely Muslim right that cannot be divided or shared.
The Waqf warned the Israeli government and police against allowing the extremist Jewish organizations, “whose aim is to stir up strife and ignite the region,” from having their way at the third holiest site in Islam.
It said that these calls by the extremist organizations “will drag the region into a religious war with ominous consequences,” which Israel will bear, stressing that “the people in Jerusalem, Palestine, and all Muslims will not hesitate to defend their Mosque.”