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Tightened security backfires at Al-Aqsa

Israel has taken measures to limit the number of Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque so that Jewish visitors can pray there, but the steps seem to be increasing rather than soothing tensions.

The recent violence that erupted at Al-Aqsa Mosque came as no surprise. On Sept. 9, Israel banned two groups of Palestinian Muslims who call themselves the masculine and feminine variants of “Mourabitoun” as illegal organizations. The problem is that in Islamic terminology, every Muslim in Jerusalem who attends prayers at Islam’s third-holiest mosque is a "mourabit," a term that refers to people holding the fort.

The condemnation was the equivalent of calling all believers worshipping at St. Peter’s Church part of a criminal organization. The head of the Waqf Department (for religious endowments) in Jerusalem, Azzam Khatib, said in a Sept. 9 press statement that every Muslim who enters Al-Aqsa Mosque is considered a mourabit.

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