Israel Bans Islamic Figure Entry to Al-Aqsa

12:00 Apr 18 2012 Temple Mount, Jerusalem

ERUSALEM, April 18, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities issued an order banning former mufti of Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque preacher, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, entry into al-Haram al-Sharif compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, which houses Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, Sabri said on Wednesday.

He slammed the Israeli decision and described it as “arbitrary and illegal” and a violation of freedom of religion.

The decision interferes in Muslim affairs and challenges the jurisdiction of the the Islamic Wqaf, said Sabri, adding that military control does not grant the Israeli occupation rights in al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

He said the decision came as a result of an incitement campaign against him led by ultraorthodox Jewish groups.

This is the third consecutive time Sabri has been banned from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque under the pretext his sermons are inciteful.

Israeli authorities regularly ban Muslim leaders from entering al-Aqsa Mosque and even restrict their presence in Jerusalem.

In addition to Sabri, the ban has also touched Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic movement in Israel.

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