Mar. 1, 2019
How Muslims Are Changing the Status Quo on the Temple Mount – Nadav Shragai
In 1967, there was only one functioning mosque on the Temple Mount – the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Golden Gate compound will be the fifth mosque that the Muslims have established at the site. There is no basis for constant Muslim protests against Israel for violating the status quo on the Temple Mount. It is the Muslims who have been eroding the status quo there over the past three decades.
During the 1970s, the Muslims began using the Dome of the Rock building, which was not originally a mosque, as a site for regular Friday prayers. In 1996, they converted Solomon’s Stables into the underground al-Marwani Mosque, causing serious damage to antiquities on the Temple Mount at the time. A short while later, the Muslims converted parts of ancient al-Aqsa, under the upper al-Aqsa Mosque, into a mosque.
Over the years, the Muslims have paved extensive areas on the Temple Mount to be used for prayer services, especially on Muslim festivals and on Ramadan. Other Muslim changes to the status quo include closing the Chain Gate and the Cotton Gate to tourists and restricting visiting times by non-Muslims. The writer, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center, has documented events in Jerusalem for 30 years. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)