Muslim Reaction to Rebuilding of Temple Mount Ramp 'A Deliberate Attempt to Incite Violence Against Israel'
New York, New York, February 16, 2007 … Protests and violence from the Muslim world in response to Israel's rebuilding of a ramp near the Al Aksa compound are "a deliberate attempt to incite hatred against Israel," according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The protests which first broke out in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Gaza and the West Bank, have spread to other Muslim countries and are the result of a concerted effort to use Al Aksa to stir tensions and promote hate against Israel.
"The false charge that Israel is plotting to destroy Al Aksa mosque to build a Jewish temple has been used by Palestinian and Muslim leaders as a tactic to mobilize popular outrage against Israel for decades. This recent campaign of misinformation started weeks before the start of the current construction, it is completely baseless and another deliberate attempt to incite hatred against Israel," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
This project does not harm the Al Aksa mosque or affect any Muslim holy sites. The previous ramp to the Mugrabi Gate – an entrance to the Temple Mount/ Al Aksa compound- was severely damaged during a storm in 2004. Prior to rebuilding the ramp, the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting salvage excavations – a standard procedure under Israeli law when construction is being performed in a recognized archeological site to ensure that ancient remains in the location are protected.
Prior to the protests, Muslim religious leaders, including the top Palestinian Authority-appointed officials and leaders of the Islamic movement in Israel, called for Muslims to rally to "protect" Al Aksa. Their alarmist and unfounded charges that the excavations were part of a plot against the mosque were echoed throughout the Arab and Muslim media. Cartoons in major newspapers in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other countries depicted the excavations as a Zionist, or Jewish, attempt to destroy the mosques.
High-level officials and governments throughout the Arab and Muslim world have added their voices in protesting against Israel, elevating the hysteria to an international crisis. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) issued a condemnation against Israel for what it called "heinous aggressions."
Most notable are statements by Iranian leaders. On February 7, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, met with Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, secretary general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. At the meeting, according to Teheran Times, Khamenei "urged all Muslims to seriously respond to the Zionist regime's disrespectful action, saying that the Islamic world's reaction 'should make the Zionist regime regret its offensive act.'"
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.