The Leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, has described the latest Israeli building work at the Ma'man Allah Cemetery in Jerusalem as one of "a series of crimes". The Sheikh visited the historic cemetery to see for himself the desecration of the site.
"Turning part of the cemetery into a public park is a crime," said Sheikh Salah. "Opening a street in the middle of the cemetery is another crime; building a restaurant in the cemetery is yet another crime; building a hotel is a fourth crime and changing a large part of the cemetery into a store for construction materials is also a crime."
Sheikh Raed Salah has been banned from entering Jerusalem by the Israeli authorities on several occasions, even though he is an Israeli citizen. After visiting the cemetery, he noted that the current exhumation of the bones of the dead in the name of building a "Museum of Tolerance" is a criminal act.
"The famed and historical personalities buried in the cemetery," said Sheikh Salah, "belong to the whole Muslim world." He also pointed out that the most recently deceased who are buried there still have relatives who live near to the site. "Exhumations hurt their feelings," he said. "It is the duty of all Arabs and Muslims to stand against the Israeli crimes in the cemetery."
Insisting that the world should not turn a blind eye to the desecration of the historic cemetery, Sheikh Salah pointed out, "This is just one of many Israeli violations against Muslim and Christian holy places in Jerusalem so we should use the international courts to stop such aggression."
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre-sponsored "Museum of Tolerance" is being built on the site of the Ma'man Allah Cemetery, parts of which date back almost 1,400 years.