Islamic group condemns plan to expand Western Wall prayer site

Plan for expansion of the women's section at the site awaits approval by a state planning committee.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
August 13, 2008 01:28
1 minute read.
Islamic group condemns plan to expand Western Wall prayer site

kotel 88 224. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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An Islamic group on Tuesday condemned a long-time Israeli proposal to enlarge the section of the Western Wall allotted for women's prayer. The criticism by the Al Aksa Foundation, which is affiliated with the Islamic Movement in Israel, was the latest flare-up over control of the Temple Mount and comes just weeks after the organization criticized the Chabad movement in Israel for holding seminars about the ancient Jewish temples. "There is no such thing as innocent work so long as the Aksa mosque is under occupation," said Zahi Nujeidat, spokesman for the Islamic Movement in Israel. The Islamic group, which held an east Jerusalem press conference Tuesday to protest the Israeli plans, denies the existence of the Jewish temples on the Temple Mount and refers to the Western Wall as "the al-Buraq wall." The plan for the expansion of the women's section at the Western Wall has not yet been approved by a state planning committee. "There is nothing new at the site," said Aryeh Banner, a spokesman for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. Last month, a Chabad seminar about the temples was condemned by the organization as "endangering" the mosque. In the past, the fiery leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, served a two-year sentence for a series of security-related offenses including financing Hamas activities.

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