AMMAN (The Jordan Times) – Jerusalem church leaders and Jordanian awqaf officials in the holy city have vowed to work hand-in-hand to defend the holy shrines of the city against “oppression” and maintain the status quo in Al Haram Al Sharif, which is subject to frequent Israeli violations.
Following a Monday visit by a senior delegation of patriarchs and bishops of the holy city and representatives of all the churches in Jerusalem to the compound, and a meeting with the chairman and members of the Islamic Waqf Council and senior staff of awqaf and governor of Jerusalem, both sides issued a statement stressing four principles as they vowed to join ranks to confront Israeli plans to change the reality of the Islamic world’s third holiest shrine.
The Israeli violations include plans to split time between Muslims and Jews and allow Jewish extremists to enter the sacred mosque under the protection of occupation forces.
In the statement issued following Monday’s meeting, both sides stressed that the historical status quo in the Haram Al Sharif and its courtyard, all buildings, and in the city of Jerusalem, should not be changed.
They also emphasised the full right of Muslims to worship and freedom of access to Al Aqsa Mosque and its exclusive ownership by Muslims of all the world. Israel, for example, only allows people above 50 to attend Friday prayers.
They stressed the importance of the Hashemite custodianship of Al Aqsa Mosque and the holy Islamic and Christian places in Jerusalem and the holy land, according to the statement.
The Christian and Muslim leaders also underlined “the continuity of the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Covenant that brings Christians and Muslims together as one of fraternal coexistence in the holy city, which is unique in the entire world. This covenant respects the rights of Christians to worship and the full practice of their religion”.
The covenant, also called the Pact of Omar, stipulates provisions that govern the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in Jerusalem and the entire Syria, dictated by the second caliph of Islam after liberating Jerusalem in 637AD.