Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Ha'aretz has some additional information:
The warning pertains to the underground expanses known as Solomon's Stables, which have been turned into a prayer hall that can house thousands of individuals. The marble tiles that have been laid there are putting pressure on the spaces below them, as well as on the exterior wall in the southwestern corner, where the dangerous protrusions can be seen.

If in addition to this thousands more worshipers assemble in the plaza above Solomon's Stables, the ancient archways could collapse and lead to a horrific disaster.

and a recommendation:
The danger exists in only a very small section of the mosque compound. There is an ongoing dialogue among the Waqf administration, the Jordanian authorities and representatives of the Israeli government, and everyone should agree to restricting the number of worshipers in the prayer hall and on the roof of Solomon's Stables.

The mosque compound is an extensive area that can accommodate hundreds of thousands, and the restrictions in question relate to a few thousand individuals being prevented from entering one corner of the Mount.

But here's another view:
Israel seeking to control Al-Aqsa mosque compound: Jerusalem mufti (TurkishPress.com)

BEIRUT, Sept 27 (AFP) - The top Palestinian Muslim cleric accused Israel in remarks published here on Monday of seeking to seize control of the Al Aqsa mosque compound by raising safety concerns at the holy shrine in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem mufti Sheikh Ekrima Sabri said in an interview with Lebanon's An Nahar newspaper that "the foundations ... do not raise concern and the Israeli claims to that end are baseless."

These claims were only "a justification" for Israel to put its hand on the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam, he charged.

The mufti said a recent report by engineers from the Islamic endowments authority, experts in Islamic arts and Egyptian archaeologists confirmed that the shrine stood on solid foundations, with works needed only to cover cracks in the southern and eastern sections of the structure.


You may recall from the MEMRI Special Report on Palestinian Authority Sermons 2000-2003 (cited earlier on PaleoJudaica here) that Sheikh Ikrimeh Sabri is Arafat's hand-picked Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine who has called for the destruction of the U.S.A. and Britain, said the Israelis should all go back to their own countries, and praised child suicide bombers.

I don't know what the truth is about the safety of the Solomon's Stables mosque for the Ramadan crowds, but I do know whose opinion I don't trust.

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