The global Muslim Brotherhood is continuing its longstanding efforts to foment unrest centered on Israel actions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. GMBDW reporting on this incitement, often led by global Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, began in November 2007 with a post that discussed a conference held in Istanbul called the “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) International Forum Meeting.” The conference, co-sponsored by the Al-Quds International Institution (AQII) established by Qaradawi, issued a statement accusing the Israelis of trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque by means of nearby excavations:
The assaults on the Muslim and Christian holy sites — in particular Al Aqsa Mosque, which is undergoing excavations that risk its existence with the aim of establishing the Zionist temple –threaten the peace and stability in the region and world. These assaults further constitute an attack on the historical heritage of the human civilization. This obliges the nations of the world to take the immediate responsibility of confronting and putting an end to these assaults.
In April 2008, a post reported on the “Jerusalem Committee” of the Hamas government in Gaza formed in order to:
…..confront and explain what Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque are facing in terms of a systematic and programmed Judaization plan backed by the forces of tyranny in the world to create demographic changes in the Holy City, as well as the excavations that are endangering the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the acts of robbery and registration of Jerusalem properties in the Zionist tabu [land registration]authority
As discussed in that post, Youssef Qaradawi was being considered for heading the advisory council to the Jerusalem Committee.
The incitement surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque appeared to escalate beginning in July 2009 on what was described as the “42nd Anniversary of the Occupation of Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque.” At that time, the International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by Qaradawi, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) stating:
Working for the liberation of all the Palestinian occupied territories, especially Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, is a religious obligation of rulers, scholars, and citizens, each according to their abilities and responsibilities.
In September 2009, Western media reported that tourists had entered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound following an earlier group of “religious Jews” that had assembled outside the gates. In connection with that incident, Youssef Qaradawi gave a sermon in which he repeated the charge that Israel was attempting to destroy the mosque. Qaradawi concluded this sermon by calling for “different types of jihad” directed against Israel. Following a statement by the Jordanian government that the mosque had been “broken into” by Israeli troops, the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood called for annulling the peace treaty with Israel. Islam Online, the Islamic news portal associated with Qaradawi, reported that Israeli policemen had attacked worshipers who had “repulsed an attempt by Jewish extremists to hold Talmudic rituals at al-Haram al-Sharif.” The IOL report also accused Israeli police of using “poisonous gases.”
In October 2009, a post reported on several various acts of incitement by the global Muslim Brotherhood regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque:
- Israeli media reported that authorities were considering taking action against an Israeli Muslim Brotherhood leader, accusing him of instigating rioting at the Temple Mount holy site in Israel.
- An incendiary website on the mosque was established and hosted by Islam Online, the Islamic news portal associated with Youssef Qaradawi. Qaradawi called for demonstrations and a “day of rage” in support of the al-Aqsa mosque this Friday (Qaradawi used the same expression when calling for demonstrations over the Danish cartoon issue).
- The European Muslim Brotherhood, represented by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), issued a statement claiming “Occupation forces and gangs of Israeli extremists launched a new assault, en masse, on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the peaceful worshippers praying there” calling it “one of the gravest of the escalating Israeli assaults on Jerusalem”. The statement called for various actions including inviting ”Muslims in Europe and their institutions to organise various civic actions, to condemn this new attack on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.” FIOE had previously warned of the “constant desecration of Al Masjid Al-Aqsa.”
- The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood orchestrated a sit-in saying that the events at the mosque were part of “several attempts to destroy the mosque.”
In January of this year, the seventh conference of Al-Quds International Institution “warned of the Zionist schemes that are aimed to liquidate the Palestinian cause and target the occupied city of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque as well as the Arab identity of the city.”
Recent weeks have seen a continuation and escalation of the global Brotherhood’s incitement centered on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, often referring to the inauguration of the Hurva Synagogue which had been destroyed by Jordanian forces during the 1948 war and which had been under restoration for years. The synagogue is located 700 meters from the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Examples from the Middle East include:
- The International Union of Muslim Scholars, led by Youssef Qaradawi, called for another “Day of Rage” and said that Israel planned to eventually raze the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build a temple on its debris.
- Qaradawi urged “Muslims around the world to be “on alert and be prepared for sacrificing their lives in defence of Jerusalem’ if Israel continued its aggressions on the holy city.”
- Dr. Mohamed Morsy, of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Executive Bureau and the groups’ media spokesman, called on “Arabs and Muslims worldwide to come to the aid of the Palestinian uprising in resisting the fierce IOF [Israeli Occupation Force] attack against the holy Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem.”
- Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Hamas government in Gaza, said “what is happening now exposes the reality of Jerusalem’s future and the Jews’ plans.” “Don’t be afraid of a religious or non-religious war, because Jerusalem will always remain Islamic,”
- Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas in exile in Syria, said “We warn against this action by the Zionist enemy to rebuild and dedicate the Hurva synagogue. It signifies the destruction of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the building of the temple.”
The European Muslim Brotherhood, represented by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), issued a statement claiming “the Israeli occupation forces have continued to desecrate the spaces and environs of the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, and perpetrated all forms of inhumane treatment on the Palestinian civilians offering their ritual daily prayers there. The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), the UK FIOE member, declared “the aggression against the Ibrahimi or Al-Aqsa Mosque, or any other mosque in Palestine is perceived as an attack on all mosques worldwide, and it is the duty of all Muslims and lovers of peace to express their outrage and condemnation.
In the US, the incitement appeared to be taken up by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) who in February 2007 had issued a warning about Israeli excavation near the mosque without explicitly stating that it was designed to harm the mosque:
The Muslim Public Affairs Council today warned that Israeli excavations at the Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which make up the third holiest place of worship for Muslims, could escalate violence in the broader region. The latest crisis began when Israeli authorities started rebuilding and extending a pedestrian ramp which rises to the Mughrabi Gate, without the express consent of the Islamic board which governs the mosque.
Last week, MPAC issued an “Action Alert” titled “Call on Congress to Stop Israeli Encroachment on Al-Aqsa Mosque” although what the alert labeled “encroachment” was described as follows:
On Friday, Israel announced it was sealing off the West Bank for 48 hours citing “security concerns,” and it banned Palestinian men under 50 years old from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque through Saturday. According to media reports today, both restrictions have been extended apparently indefinitely.