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PA Ministry of Religion official: Israeli and US plot against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the region

Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning

Director of the PA Ministry of Religious Affairs Department of Preacher Training Shiekh Majed Saqr: "The event of the Night Journey and Prophet Muhammad's Ascent to Heaven began in a period when the Al-Aqsa Mosque was as it is today (sic., the mosque was built in 705 CE, Muhammad died in 632 CE) – it was occupied by the Byzantines, and Blessed and Glorious Allah wanted to draw the Muslims' attention to the importance of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore Blessed and Glorious Allah connected the Holy Mosque [in Mecca] to the Al-Aqsa Mosque: 'Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa’ [Quran, Sura 17:1, Sahih International translation]…

Allah's Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace, is a direct continuation of the prophets, the continuation of Moses and Jesus, and if [a lack of tolerance] developed among the Jews- we do not want to say the Jews, among the Zionists – [it is] a change and an aggression, as all of the religions are originally tolerant, and the change occurred afterwards. Regarding the symbolism of the Al-Aqsa Mosque – and that is what interests us in this interview – if we want to see that the nation is strong in its faith and Islamicness, then we must look atthe Al-Aqsa Mosque. If it is occupied then the nation has weakened and there is a flaw, and if it is liberated then the nation is victorious and [experiences] the beginning of an awakening. Today the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in a miserable state. There is a Zionist-American global plot against the Al-Aqsa Mosque. There is an Arab plot, unfortunately, and an attempt to implement normalization [with Israel] at the expense of the Palestinian people and a dissolution of the cause of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem, and of the Palestinian cause in general.There is a rift in the Palestinian ranks, and we need an awakening and to draw attention to the fact that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is the symbol of unity…

[Israel and the US] are attempting to create tensions between the religions in order to create a complex of problems. We have no choice but to first recover the unity of the [Arab] nation so we will be able to deal with this arrogant and strong enemy. It is really strong – but if it were facing a unification, it would not be able to deal with this unification, whether it was a unification based on religion or on protecting the homeland; [for example,] the issue of the prisoners has a [unifying] influence on the society. However, they have divided the Arab and Islamic world and made every state deal with its [internal] matters, and therefore no one is thinking about the others, and that is a big problem. We demand that the religious scholars return to their roles of leading the nation."