Officials attached and related to Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem have praised Al-Aqsa International Week organised by British NGO Friends of Al-Aqsa. The Department of Islamic Endowments and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs in the occupied city called on everyone to engage with activities throughout the week scheduled for 6-12 March.
Sheikh Omar Al-Kiswani, the Director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, explained that he and his colleagues in the department "look positively upon such initiatives which enhance the status the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the hearts of Muslims around the world, and highlight the importance of visiting it as mentioned by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)."
Al-Kiswani told Arabi21 that the solidarity week comes in the middle of a "fierce attack" against Al-Aqsa Mosque. "There are serious efforts being made to Judaise the mosque and the Holy City in addition to the daily incursions by extremist Israeli settlers, all of which are intended to impose a new reality by dividing the mosque temporally and spatially between Jews and Muslims," he warned. "Everyone should know that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque does not belong solely to the Palestinian people or to the people of Bayt Al-Maqdis or the people of Jordan, who are the guardians of the holy sites. It is the responsibility of all Muslims in the world."
Such programmes and initiatives, added Sheikh Omar, boost a sense of belonging to Al-Aqsa:
They enhance the mosque's position in the hearts of Muslims and demonstrate the importance of visiting and praying in it, especially in light of the fierce attacks on Al-Aqsa by the Israeli occupation authorities.
He pointed out that the Jerusalem Endowment Department is in contact with Muslims in Britain and South Africa. "They visit Al-Aqsa Mosque the most throughout the year, especially in the blessed month of Ramadan, in addition to the people of Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia, so may Allah reward them all."
In closing, he said that, "We are going through critical times amid this fierce attack by the occupation on Al Aqsa, and these activities demonstrate and reinforce the Muslim and Arab character of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and refute all Israeli plans that seek to change the reality in and around the blessed Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa."