12/13/2003, 00.00
Israel - Palestine
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Jerusalem's Grand Mufti says Wailing Wall belongs to Islam

Jerusalem (AsiaNews)- The year 2003 will go down in history books as "the year of the walls set up between Israelis and Palestinians".

Jerusalem's Grand Mufti, Akrama Sabri, devoted yesterday's homily to the Wailing Wall. It is an  "integral part of the blessed Mosque, Al-Aqsa" and "Islamic patrimony in every sense of the law", he said. Akrama recalled that " 70 years ago, the Society of Nations (which later became the U.N.) recognized that the wall belonged to the Muslims, as part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Mufti's remarks seem to go against recent statements made by Yasser Arafat.

In a conversation held on Dec. 3 in Ramallah with Henry Sigman, member of the U.S. State Department's external affairs division, and made known only the day before yesterday, the Palestinian leader's opinion seemed inclined in the opposite direction. In the conversation he admitted Israel's jurisdiction over the Jewish district in the old Jerusalem, including the Wailing Wall.

Arafat nevertheless confirmed that East Jerusalem is and will be the capital of the future Palestinian state. In the report released by Sigman's press office, it was said Arafat expressed "respect for the Jewish religion and its history cited in the Koran."

The Grand Mufti's words seem, therefore, to correct Arafat's openness. Akrama Sabri also criticized whoever defines the Wall as" Waling" emphasizing that its true name is the "Barrak Wall " (Shining Wall).

Akrama appealed to Muslims to stay united in keeping the Al-Aqsa Mosque's physical structure safe, by watching over and surrounding it with the presence of Muslim faithful.

According to Jews, the Al-Aqsa Mosque was built on the site where Salomon's Temple once stood. (P.B)   

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